Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 10/6/2019: VLC 3.0.7, KDE Future Plans

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Top 10 Best Linux Laptops Out Right Now
      Linux has a cult following and for good reason. From powerful functionality to robust services, it is hard to beat a Linux laptop when it comes to day-in, day-out use. Preferred by everyone from programmers to hacking communities, Linux laptops are some of the best hardware out there for someone just learning to code or who has done it for years. They’re just a superior option to a Windows or Mac machine in many, many ways.

      But you already know that, right? That’s why you’re here to find out about the best Linux laptops out on the market right now. And we’ve got you covered. In this article we will discuss the 10 best Linux laptops currently available on the market and why you should consider adding them to your arsenal. There’s a device at every price point and budget consideration so you should be able to find something that hits that sweet spot for you.

    • Crostini Linux Headed To Older Broadwell Chromebooks, Sorry Skylake
      The Chrome OS team is rapidly working to brings more capabilities and stability to Linux apps on Chromebooks. Full GPU support is just beyond the horizon and while there is still much work to be done, developers are already working on bringing Crostini to some key older devices.

      At inception, it was made clear that Chromebooks running the older 3.14 Linux kernel would never receive official support for Crostini. Additionally, 32-bit ARM Chromebooks are excluded from this feature for various reasons. As were BayTrail devices due to lack of Intel’s virtualization technology required to run the Crostini containers.

  • Server

    • How Kubernetes came to rule the world
      Open source has become the de facto standard for building the software that underpins the complex infrastructure that runs everything from your favorite mobile apps to your company’s barely usable expense tool. Over the course of the last few years, a lot of new software is being deployed on top of Kubernetes, the tool for managing large server clusters running containers that Google open-sourced five years ago.

      Today, Kubernetes is the fastest growing open-source project, and earlier this month, the bi-annual KubeCon+CloudNativeCon conference attracted almost 8,000 developers to sunny Barcelona, Spain, making the event the largest open-source conference in Europe yet.

    • Kubernetes at 5: Joe Beda, Brendan Burns, and Craig McLuckie on its past, future, and the true value of open source
      First released by three senior engineers at Google five years ago, Kubernetes has been one of the few open-source projects to make an outsized impact on distributed computing with a minimum of drama between users, maintainers, and vendors. There’s a lot of people who would argue the hype around Kubernetes raced well ahead of real-world usage, but there’s no question that companies modernizing their applications around containers are paying close attention to the potential of Kubernetes to serve as a bridge across multiple cloud providers.

      During its fifth birthday celebration last week, we were thrilled to host a discussion between the three co-creators of Kubernetes — Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie of VMware, and Brendan Burns of Microsoft — at the 2019 GeekWire Cloud Summit. We talked about the history of the project, the current state of open-source software, and the unsolved problems that are holding back the future of cloud computing.

    • NVIDIA and Red Hat: Simplifying NVIDIA GPU Driver Deployment on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

    • Simplifying NVIDIA GPU Driver Deployment on Red Hat Linux
      Over at the NVIDIA blog, Pramod Ramarao writes that NVIDIA and Red Hat have worked closely to improve the user experience when installing and updating NVIDIA software on RHEL, including GPU drivers and CUDA.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • GNU World Order 13x24

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 149 - Chat with Michael Coates about data security
      Josh and Kurt have a chat with Michael Coates from Altitude Networks. We cover what Altitude is up to as well as general trends we're seeing around data security in the cloud. Michael lays out his vision for "data first security".

    • Linux Action News 109
      Mozilla's master strategy becomes clear, CockroachDB surrenders to the software as a service reality, while Microsoft and Oracle link up.

      Plus Google argues that keeping Huawei on their Android is better for all, and Chris gets sucked into Stadia.

    • Web Application Development Entirely In Python
      The knowledge and effort required for building a fully functional web application has grown at an accelerated rate over the past several years. This introduces a barrier to entry that excludes large numbers of people who could otherwise be producing valuable and interesting services. To make the onramp easier Meredydd Luff and Ian Davies created Anvil, a platform for full stack web development in pure Python. In this episode Meredydd explains how the Anvil platform is built and how you can use it to build and deploy your own projects. He also shares some examples of people who were able to create profitable businesses themselves because of the reduced complexity. It was interesting to get Meredydd's perspective on the state of the industry for web development and hear his vision of how Anvil is working to make it available for everyone.


      The knowledge and effort required for building a fully functional web application has grown at an accelerated rate over the past several years. This introduces a barrier to entry that excludes large numbers of people who could otherwise be producing valuable and interesting services. To make the onramp easier Meredydd Luff and Ian Davies created Anvil, a platform for full stack web development in pure Python. In this episode Meredydd explains how the Anvil platform is built and how you can use it to build and deploy your own projects. He also shares some examples of people who were able to create profitable businesses themselves because of the reduced complexity. It was interesting to get Meredydd’s perspective on the state of the industry for web development and hear his vision of how Anvil is working to make it available for everyone.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1.8
      I'm announcing the release of the 5.1.8 kernel.

      All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-5.1.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:
    • Linux 4.19.49
    • Linux 4.14.124

    • Zstd-Compressing The Linux Kernel Has Been Brought Up Again
      Using the Zstd compression algorithm to compress the Linux kernel image has been brought up again with new patches expected in the coming weeks.

      It's been brought up multiple times before to allow Zstd compression for the Linux kernel image. But to date the patches have been rejected from mainline on the basis of almost yearly there being some hot new trend in compression algorithms and the desire to add them immediately to the mainline kernel. It's been brought up that if Zstd were to be added or some other compression algorithm, an existing alternative should at least be deprecated or removed.

    • Unix Vs Linux: How These Two Operating Systems Are Different
      We all know that Linux is “free and open source”. Meaning, one can download it from the internet without any hassle and also, redistribute it under GNU licenses. One can make any changes to the source and modify as per user convenience.

      Talking about Unix, it has several derivatives, and not every derivative is free and open source. For example, MacOS is one of the derivatives and it is neither free nor open sourced. However, it is fast changing, and many Unix derivatives are emerging as open source.

      Fact: When Unix was first introduced, it was not open source —the Unix source code was licensable via agreements with AT&T. Also, the first Unix license was sold to the University of Illinois in 1975.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Akraino Edge Stack Hits Release 1.0
        LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced the availability of Akraino Edge Stack Release 1 (“Akraino R1”).

        Created via broad community collaboration, Akraino’s premiere release unlocks the power of intelligent edge with deployable, self-certified blueprints for a diverse set of edge use cases.

      • Akraino Edge Stack Issues Premier Release, Sets Framework to Enable 5G, IoT Edge Application Ecosystem

      • What is Hyperledger?
        Hyperledger is a permissioned system, meaning unlike other blockchains, Hyperledger can be set up to only show data and information to the user who has access to it. This allows for privacy and trust between companies.

        The project also runs chaincode, meaning users can put whichever and whatever business logic they like into their smart contracts. It is also incredibly fast compared to other blockchains.

        Hyperledger Fabric allows companies to get started with blockchain quickly and easy. It lets companies program smart contracts in the language the team works in. This avoids users having to learn custom languages and architectures which in turn speeds up workflows.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Waffle 1.6 Released As Library Allowing GL / Windowing System Selection At Runtime
        Why not start off your morning with a waffle? Waffle 1.6 was just released as this long-running but recently silent project providing a library that allows deferring OpenGL and windowing system selection until run-time for making software more portable across today's mobile systems and desktops and supporting both X11 and Wayland, among other possible options.

      • GL_MESA_EGL_sync Extension Proposed For The Khronos OpenGL Registry
        GL_MESA_EGL_sync is a new OpenGL extension for extending EGL's KHR_fence_sync synchronization behavior into the desktop OpenGL space.

        EGL_KHR_fence_sync adds the concept of synchronization objects to EGL as sync primitives and similar to GL_ARB_sync. But with GL_MESA_EGL_sync, the desire is to be more like EGL_KHR_fence_sync rather than the ARB_sync extension due to some platform extensions in turn relying on the EGL extension.

      • Chamferwm Is Still Kicking As A Vulkan-Powered X11 Compositor
        While waiting on a flight delay yesterday, I was trawling through GitHub checking out different open-source projects, in this case Vulkan projects, and pleased to see that Chamferwm still exists. For those that missed our earlier coverage of Chamferwm months ago, it's a Vulkan-powered X11 compositor / window manager.

      • AMDVLK 2019.Q2.5 Brings Fixes For World War Z, F1 2018, Other Optimizations
        The AMDVLK 2019.Q2.5 driver was released this morning as the newest open-source Radeon Vulkan driver for Linux systems wishing to use this official driver as an alternative to the Mesa RADV driver.

        AMDVLK 2019.Q2.5 is the latest routine update for the driver. AMDVLK 2019.Q2.5 updates against the Vulkan SDK 1.1.109 headers, enables scratch bounds checking for GFX9/Vega, attachment image memory type support for VK_MEMORY_OVERALLOCATION_BEHAVIOR_ALLOWED_AMD, and optimizations for the acquire-release barrier.

      • Vulkan 1.1.111 Released With Various Fixes
        Released for E3 week is Vulkan 1.1.111, but it's not particularly exciting.

        Vulkan 1.1.110 was released last week and brought with it two new extensions while Vulkan 1.1.111 is a more mundane update focused on documentation corrections/clarifications.

      • R300 Gallium3D Driver Finally Wired Up For On-Disk Shader Cache
        Continuing on from the story a few days ago about R300 Gallium3D seeing a big performance fix after being regressed in recent years, another potential bonus is in store.

        Potentially helping out performance or at least smoothing out frame-rates is a tentative patch wiring up Mesa's on-disk GLSL shader cache to the R300g driver. The GLSL shader cache is shared among the Mesa drivers so it actually took just a few dozen lines of code extending it to R300g. But with no upstream Mesa developers actively advancing R300g, this shader cache functionality hadn't come until an independent contributor stepped up to the plate.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.17 Development Heating Up As 5.16 Freezes
        With KDE Plasma 5.16 soon to be released, development is heating up for KDE Plasma 5.17. As such, it's been another busy work in KDE development land.

        With KDE Plasma 5.17, the Breeze theme is continuing to evolve and the most recent change is disabling by default the KWin-generated window borders. Plasma 5.17 will also better handle external keyboards being plugged in where sometimes the keyboard layouts list would be reset, improved full-screen maximized window handling on multi-monitor setups, redesigned System Settings SDDM log-in page's advanced tab, and other early changes.

      • Evolving KDE – Let’s set some new goals for KDE
        In 2017 we discussed what goals the KDE community should focus on in order to get closer to our vision of a world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy. We went through a process of submitting and discussing proposals and then voting on them. The result were 3 clear goals that KDE focused on over the past 1.5 years: top-notch usability and productivity for basic software, streamlined onboarding of new contributors and privacy. The focus the goals gave us have led to significant progress in all 3 areas. Check out Nate’s and Neofytos’ summary! But not only that. We got fantastic new people on board and our larger community and users understood that we care about and make progress in areas that matter to them. Thank you to everyone who has and continues to put work into these. Your contributions make KDE better every single day.

      • KDE Is Looking For Ideas On New Goals
        Following KDE's 2017 goals, they are now looking to revise their goals or double-down on their current goals, so they could use your help in determining their road-map moving forward.

        Their 2017 goals were to provide top-notch usability/productivity software for basic software, privacy software, and streamlined onboarding of new contributors.

      • KDEnlive: An Open Source Non Linear Video Editor for Linux
        The most powerful visual media – video can deliver what texts can’t. Since watching video is how one-third of online users spend time on, videos, however, editing could be more powerful, attention-grabbing, and inspiring.

        Now, creating and professionally editing videos on Linux has become surprisingly complicated. It may be because choices for such software are not visible. To that end, I decided to discuss an outstanding video editor for Linux platforms.

      • KDE ISO Image Writer – Revamping the UI
        As part of GSoC 2019, I am working on KDE ISO Image Writer which is a tool to write ISO images to USB flash drives.

      • Interview with Asja Flaim
        When I got my PC and my Huion 191 tablet as a Christmas gift, Krita was installed on the PC.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Richard Hughes: WOGUE is no friend of GNOME
        Alex Diavatis is the person behind the WOGUE account on YouTube. For a while he’s been posting videos about GNOME. I think the latest idea is that he’s trying to “shame” developers into working harder. From the person who’s again on the other end of his rants it’s having the opposite effect.

      • Google Summer of Code 2019: Week 1 and 2
        I got selected as a Google Summer of Code 2019 student with GNOME. It has been almost two weeks since the coding period started and I've been working with two awesome mentors Fabiano Fidencio and Felipe Borges.

        Currently GNOME Boxes is able to do either express-installations on a downloaded ISO or to download an ISO and offer the option to express-install it. My project aims to add the support for express-installations using the OSes’ network trees. This would reduce the download size and mainly benefit the users with not so good internet connection.

        I first tried few express-installations(unattended installations) on boxes from a downloaded media and compared the command line generated with that of the one generated in virt-install while installing a virtual machine from the network.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • IPFire Open-Source Linux Firewall Now Patched Against Intel MDS Vulnerabilities
        IPFire 2.23 Core Update 132 is more like an emergency release that ships with an updated Linux kernel, version 4.14.120, which is patched against the recently disclosed Intel MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) security vulnerabilities known as RIDL, Fallout, and ZombieLoad, as well as an updated intel-microcode firmware, version 20190514.

        "Additionally, to mitigate this bug which cannot be fixed at all, SMT is disabled by default on all affected processors which has significant performance impacts," said Michael Tremer in the release announcement. "Please note, that Intel unfortunately is not releasing microcode for all processors any more and so you might still be vulnerable. To apply the fixes, please reboot your system."

      • IPFire 2.23 - Core Update 132 Released with Important Security Fixes, Kernel 5.2-rc4 Is Out, Akraino Edge Stack Release 1.0 Is Now Available, KDE Announces Its Google Summer of Code Students and Google Assistant Now Works with Waze
        IPFire 2.23 - Core Update 132 was released recently. This update includes security fixes and improvements to help secure systems vulnerable to some recent problems with Intel processors, specifically RIDL, Fallout and ZombieLoad. From the release announcement: "Two new types of vulnerabilities have been found in Intel processors. They cannot be fixed unless the hardware is changed, but can be somewhat mitigated through some changes in the Linux kernel (4.14.120) and an update microcode (version 20190514). Both is shipped in this release. Additionally, to mitigate this bug which cannot be fixed at all, SMT is disabled by default on all affected processors which has significant performance impacts." In addition, this release includes a new GUI that shows you which attacks your hardware may be vulnerable to and whether mitigations are in place. Go here to download.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux OS Challenge: Install Arch 'The Easy Way' With These 2 Alternative Methods
        Before you attempt these alternative Arch installation methods, I highly recommend installing Arch the traditional way: from the command line, step-by-step, using the classic Arch ISO. Why? Because you'll gain a deeper understanding of your hardware and what goes into installing a desktop Linux operating system. As a result, you'll appreciate these relatively unattended methods even more, and have a stronger grasp of what they're actually doing.

        A classic Arch install isn't as crazy difficult as you think. There's an official, exhaustive guide on the Arch Linux Wiki, and our challenge community has created this excellent document full of tips and tricks. Give it a spin inside a Virtual Machine first, then try it for real!

        Before we jump in, one quick word of warning: The Arch Linux Wiki's Installation Guide is the only officially supported method for installing Arch. Move forward at your own risk, and don't rely on the developers of these projects for help.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Review: openSUSE Leap 15.1
        openSUSE is one of those distros I have always been interested in but which I had never used for more than a few hours. Recently the project released Leap 15.1, which was a good enough reason to give the distro a proper spin.

        The distro hardly needs an introduction. It is a community project sponsored by SUSE, one of the larger commercial Linux vendors. openSUSE maintains two distros: Tumbleweed is a rolling release distro and upstream to SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). Leap is a stable (non-rolling) distro that is downstream to SLE. A new version of Leap is released roughly once a year, and each version is supported for 18 months. The Leap 15.x series as a whole is supported for three years.

        openSUSE is probably best known for the Btrfs file system, Snapper and YaST. As Leap 15.1 is a relatively small, conservative upgrade from 15.0 I will mainly focus on these features. I will also have a look at where things may be heading.

    • Slackware Family

      • Chromium 75 available as Slackware packages (32bit and 64bit)
        The Chromium 75 sources were released last week by Google, and this new major release contains 42 fixes for security issues. A couple of them are serious enough that you are encouraged to update to the new 75 release ASAP.

        In terms of functionality, not much changed in Chromium 75, but there is one interesting addition that you may want to try if you read a lot of content online. It’s called “Reader Mode” and is still disabled by default, You can enable it through the Chrome flag “chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode“. The reader mode strips away page clutter like buttons, background images and changes the page layout for better readability.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora Magazine: Applications for writing Markdown
        Markdown is a lightweight markup language that is useful for adding formatting while still maintaining readability when viewing as plain text. Markdown (and Markdown derivatives) are used extensively as the priumary form of markup of documents on services like GitHub and pagure. By design, Markdown is easily created and edited in a text editor, however, there are a multitude of editors available that provide a formatted preview of Markdown markup, and / or provide a text editor that highlights the markdown syntax.

        This article covers 3 desktop applications for Fedora Workstation that help out when editing Markdown.

      • Fedora Community Blog: State of the Community Platform Engineering team
        About two years ago the Fedora Engineering team merged with the CentOS Engineering team to form what is now called the Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team. For the team members, the day to day work did not change much.

        The members working on Fedora are still fully dedicated to work on the Fedora project on those working on CentOS are still fully dedicated to CentOS. On both projects its members are involved in infrastructure, release engineering, and design. However, it brought the two infrastructures and teams closer to each other, allowing for more collaboration between them.

        There are 20 people on this consolidated team.

      • Christopher Smart: Securing Linux with Ansible
        The Ansible Hardening role from the OpenStack project is a great way to secure Linux boxes in a reliable, repeatable and customisable manner.

        It was created by former colleague of mine Major Hayden and while it was spun out of OpenStack, it can be applied generally to a number of the major Linux distros (including Fedora, RHEL, CentOS, Debian, SUSE).

        The role is based on the Secure Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) out of the Unites States for RHEL, which provides recommendations on how best to secure a host and the services it runs (category one for highly sensitive systems, two for medium and three for low). This is similar to the Information Security Manual (ISM) we have in Australia, although the STIG is more explicit.

    • Debian Family

      • Giovanni Mascellani: DQIB, the Debian Quick Image Baker
        Debian supports (either officially or unofficially) a lot of architectures, which is of course a nice thing. Sometimes you want to play with some exotic architecture you are not familiar with, or you want to debug a problem with that architecture, but you do not have a computer implementing that architecture. Fortunately QEMU is able to emulate most of the architectures supported by Debian (ia64 being an exception), however it can be difficult to install it or to find ready-to-use images on the Internet (there are some, but usually they are quite a few years old). Let's also say that for some reason you cannot or do not want to use the Debian porterboxes (maybe you are not a DD, or you want to mess up with the network, or you want to be root). What do you do?

        Mostly for the fun of hacking on some exotic architectures, I tried to brew together a little script, the Debian Quick Image Baker (DQIB). It is basically a wrapper that calls qemu-debootstrap with the right options (where "right" means "those that I have experimentally found to work"), with some thin icing layer on top. qemu-debootstrap is basically another wrapper on top of debootstrap, which of course does the heavy lifting, and qemu-user-static, that allows debootstrap to run executables for foreign architectures.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • On Ubuntu Updates
            Some readers complained that stable operating systems should not take updates from upstream, because they could introduce new bugs. Well, I certainly don’t expect stable operating systems to upgrade to new major release versions. For instance, I wouldn’t expect Ubuntu 18.04, which released with GNOME 3.28, to upgrade packages to GNOME 3.32. That would indeed defeat the goal of providing a stable system to users. We are only talking about micro version updates here, from 3.28.0 to 3.28.1, or 3.28.2, or 3.28.3, etc. These updates generally contain only bugfixes, so the risk of regressions is relatively low. (In exceptional circumstances, new features may be added in point releases, but such occurrences are very rare and carefully-considered; the only one I can think of recently was Media Source Extensions.) That doesn’t mean there are never any regressions, but the number of regressions introduced relative to the number of other bugs fixed should be very small. Sometimes the bugs fixed are quite serious, so stable release updates are essential to providing a quality user experience. Epiphany stable releases usually contain (a) fixes for regressions introduced by the previous major release, and (b) fixes for crashes.

            Other readers complained that it’s my fault for releasing software with bugs in the first place, so I shouldn’t expect operating system updates to fix the bugs. Well, the first point is clearly true, but the second doesn’t follow at all. Expecting free software to be perfect and never make any bad releases is simply unreasonable. The only way to fix problems when they occur is with a software update. GNOME developers try to ensure stable branches remain stable and reliable, so operating systems packaging GNOME can have high confidence in our micro-point releases, even though we are not perfect and cannot expect to never make a mistake. This process works very well in other Linux-based operating systems, like Fedora Workstation.

          • Canonical has released Linux kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu Versions
            Canonical has released Linux kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu Versions.

            This release fixes 4 vulnerabilities against varies Linux Kernel packages.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Robust for your pleasure: Elastic acquires Endgame
    Elastic (the company known for the Elasticsearch open source text search and analytics engine and the Elastic Stack data analysis and visualition toolset) will now acquire Endgame.

    Endgame is a security company focused on endpoint prevention, detection and response.

    Elastic wants to add Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) to its stack, so Endgame is a logical enough purchase.

  • Instaclustr anomaly detection scaled to 19 billion
    The instant clustering aficionados at Instaclustr have created an anomaly detection application capable of processing and vetting real-time events at a uniquely massive scale – 19 billion events per day.

    They did it by using open source Apache Cassandra and Apache Kafka and Kubernetes container orchestration technologies.

  • Instaclustr Anomaly Detection Application Successfully Processes 19 Billion Real-Time Events Per Day Using Apache Cassandra and Apache Kafka

  • The benefits of open source and community - the view from the trenches
    Why would you build an open source community? David Sommerseth, Team Lead of Core Development at OpenVPN, has his own war stories about his experiences as an open source developer and the important role of open source communities.

    Sommerseth joined Red Hat in 2008, (“the definition of an open source company,” he said). He found it inspiring to work there. As part of his development efforts, he was working with OpenVPN. He needed some features it didn’t have, so he developed them. He sent the changes to OpenVPN and asked Red Hat if he could spend some of his time working on OpenVPN code. In 2016, Sommerseth joined OpenVPN as a developer.

    A key player in the OpenVPN community, Sommerseth is the “gatekeeper” of changes to the OpenVPN codebase. Sommerseth reviews all code changes and is responsible for putting them out to others. The community slowly grew from two to three active participants to ten to fifteen regular contributors and another 30-40 occasional contributors.

  • Utilities Collaborate on Open-Source Software [Ed: OpenDSP is merely an openwashing shim that will bridge proprietary software it seems]

  • 5 Open-Source Recommender Systems You Should Try For Your Next Project
    Today, the popularity of these systems has reached such a level that there are companies that are providing open-source software as service recommender systems. One of the major benefits of using an open-source SaaS Recommender system is that you can make any modification. Also, you don’t have to put it a lot of capital to build one in-house.

  • Samourai Wallet open sources back-end of privacy enhanced bitcoin walle [Ed: If only the back end is liberated, then is Samourai Wallet really FOSS?]
    Samourai Wallet, the privacy-enhanced bitcoin wallet app, today announced the release and open sourcing of Samourai Dojo, the back end software infrastructure that sits on top of and augments a Bitcoin Core full node to power the privacy-focused bitcoin wallet.

  • Samourai Wallet goes fully open source
    The privacy-enhanced cryptotech infrastructure maker ‘Samourai Wallet’, has just announced that it has made its back end infrastructure open source. Samourai Dojo is the new privacy focused wallet that usually runs a Bitcoin Core aimed at offering all the users some enhanced sovereignty while making the crypto transactions. Before this, the servers needed all users to entrust their cryptocurrency public keys. With the new changes, it means that you can actually run or host your own Dojo server completely without having to go through Samourai.

  • Bitcoin app Samourai Wallet secures $100K funding as it fully goes open source
    Bitcoin app Samourai Wallet has managed to raise $100,000 in its first round of venture funding.

    The privacy-focused crypto wallet, which puts emphasis on privacy and dealing with bitcoin surveillance, bagged the investment from Cypherpunk Holdings.

  • Open Source Blockchain B-Corp Fluree Flourishes With $4.7M Seed
    Decentralized database platform Fluree has raised a $4.7 million seed round led by 4490 Ventures, with additional participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. The round, the largest tech infrastructure seed funding ever in North Carolina, will be leveraged to accelerate enterprise client acquisition, enhance the core product, and hire.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Orbs
    Orbs is a hybrid blockchain stack designed to help businesses create apps on decentralized networks that run on their own virtual blockchain. According to the company, it allows developers to build solutions on a blockchain through the use of virtual chains, intelligent sharding and randomised proof of stake (RPoS) algorithm that enables the high performance and scalability.

  • TD Ameritrade Turns To Open Source Coding
    TD Ameritrade is making "a powerful and scalable Python library," called STUMPY, available to the greater programming community.

  • TD Ameritrade Takes First Steps into Open Source
    TD Ameritrade1 today announced its first creation of an open source project: STUMPY, a python library to identify patterns and anomalies in time series data. Having benefited from open source as a means to shorten development roadmaps since the early 2000’s, STUMPY represents a new opportunity for the company to give back to the developer community.

  • The Ultimate List of 21 Free and Open Source Data Visualization Tools
    Searching for data visualization software can be a painstaking (and even expensive) process, one that requires lots of research and in some cases, a lofty budget. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source data visualization tools out there. While the most popular enterprise data visualization tools often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced features relevant to only the most technically savvy users. While a number of these solutions are offered by providers hoping to eventually sell you on their commercial products, others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize the process of insight generation.

  • The Top 17 Free and Open Source Backup Solutions
    Searching for backup software can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular enterprise backup tools often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced functionality relevant to only the most technically savvy users. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source backup tools out there. Some of these solutions are offered by vendors looking to eventually sell you on their enterprise product, and others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize backup.

    In this article we will examine free and open source backup software, first by providing a brief overview of what to expect and also with short blurbs about each of the currently available options in the space. This is the most complete and up-to-date directory on the web.

  • Neueda makes Front Office SDK open source and free to use
  • Neueda Open Sources Capital Markets Software
    Trading technology specialists Neueda have this week open sourced software designed to help investment institutions and trading firms connect to all of the European equity markets.

    Neueda, with its team of electronic trading specialists, helps trading firms and fintech vendors develop and maintain solutions for the global markets.

  • By calling Huawei Android fork a security risk, Google contradicts its own open source arguments
    Google is reportedly pushing for an exemption from the U.S. government’s Huawei trade ban, arguing that an Android-based operating system developed by the Chinese tech titan could pose a significant security threat. According to a report in the Financial Times, which cites “three people briefed” on the matter, Google is arguing that forcing it to stop working with Huawei “risks creating two kinds of Android operating system: the genuine version, and a hybrid one.”

    The claims state that the hybrid OS will likely have more bugs and could make Huawei phones more susceptible to being hacked. “Our focus is protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei handsets in the U.S. and around the world,” the company told the Financial Times.

  • The Open Source Project That Keeps Google's Hands Off Your Android Data

    MicroG is one of several projects working to keep the promise of free and open source software alive on Android. Users can opt for F-Droid instead of the Google Play store, an open source implementation of Google’s app store that, you guessed it, only offers open source applications. For web browsing, Mozilla Firefox provides a robust alternative to Chrome; in lieu of Google Drive, there are programs like NextCloud. But as those who have embarked on the great open source-only Android experiment can tell you, open source applications leave much to be desired in form, functionality, and stability.

  • Top 10 Open Source Big Data Tools for Data Scientists
    The amount of data in today’s digital world has exploded to unheard levels, with nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data churned daily. With advances in the Internet of Things and mobile technology, harnessing insights from data has become a gold mine for organisations. So how do organisations harness the big data that is coming from different sources, here is our pick for the Top 10 Open Source Big Data Tools for 2019.

  • MIT's New Open Source Tool Lets You See Behind The Scenes Of Black Box Modeling
    A machine learning model can have many dependencies and to store all the components to make sure all features available both offline and online for deployment, all the information is stored in a central repository.


    Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have developed an interactive tool that, for the first time, lets users see and control how increasingly popular automated machine-learning (AutoML) systems work.

  • How many years have you been interested in open source?
    "Since the days of comp.sources.unix and on Usenet, in the mid-1980s. I learned a lot trying to port various games and utilities from whatever they were written for to Ultrix on our VAX." —Ethan Dicks

    "My first memory of exposure to open source is learning how to use GNU Emacs in the late 80s and then quickly the GNU compiler toolchain. My operating systems professor had us modify the Minix process scheduler since it was one of the few source distributions of an operating system that would run on the hardware available to us, the AT&T 3B. It wasn't until I left school and began working that I became interested in Linux. I built a 586 class PC and installed the Yggdrasil distribution and learned how to download, build and install Linux kernels and device drivers. Checking Wikipedia, Yggdrasil hasn't been updated since 1995 :)" —Erik O'Shaughnessy

  • Events

    • NIDevConf 19 slides on Home Automation
      The 3rd Northern Ireland Developer Conference was held yesterday, once again in Riddel Hall at QUB. It’s a good venue for a great conference and as usual it was a thoroughly enjoyable day, with talks from the usual NI suspects as well as some people who were new to me. I finally submitted a talk this year, and ended up speaking about my home automation setup - basically stringing together a bunch of the information I’ve blogged about here over the past year or so. It seemed to go well other than having a bit too much content for the allocated time, but I got the main arc covered and mostly just had to skim through the additional information. I’ve had a similar talk accepted for DebConf19 this Summer, with a longer time slot that will allow me to go into a bit more detail about how Debian has enable each of the pieces.

    • Red Hat Day Ireland - The Power of Open Source: Connection, Aggregation & Collaboration
      Red Hat Day Ireland will bring the latest and greatest in open source cloud computing, platform, virtualization, middleware, storage, and systems management technologies.

      Attendees will be allowed to ask questions, learn from those leading digital transformation and discover industry trends.

    • Britain’s Open Source Awards: Meet the Shortlist
      A record 65 nominations were received for the UK’s open source awards, which take place next week in Edinburgh. Now winnowed down to a shortlist of 16, the awards –founded by open source customer relationship management (CRM) supplier SalesAgility – are in their tenth year. Here’s who’s in contention.

    • The Apache€® Software Foundation Announces Program and Early Registration Incentives for ApacheConâ„¢ North America

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla To Launch “Paid Firefox” Services By The End Of 2019
        Mozilla Corporation, which maintains the popular web browser Firefox, is looking for more ways to make money from its product. In an interview with T3N, Mozilla’s CEO Chris Beard gave little insight into the company’s future plans.

        Until now, Firefox has been offered for free to the customers. The web browser received a major refresh back in 2017 with the release of Firefox Quantum. Ever since, it has competed with the likes of Google Chrome.

  • Databases

    • Prioritising Proper Protection: Managing Big Data and Open Source Workloads
      Modern workloads require modern data protection measures. Previous systems – such as replication – are not suitable for big data or open source databases, and do not ensure they are secure.

      While many big data and open source databases offer some form of protection – including snapshots and built-in recovery tools – they lack the point-in-time backup and recovery capabilities needed to achieve enterprise-grade data protection. The stakes are too high to let a workload go down, so organisations must cover all the bases from backup and recovery to analysis and data management.

    • Open-source database can help investors and give technology sector a boost
      Information is king. That has been the way of the world since people first began trading securities or investing in assets and, despite the best efforts of regulators, it remains the case. One investor, or group of investors, will always enjoy access to superior knowledge about a certain security or asset than the rest of the market.

  • CMS

    • From student message board to open-source CMS: a Q&A with the creator of Drupal
      Drupal has completely changed the way large organisations think about and build their digital estate.

      The open source content management system (CMS), which was founded in the year 2000, is now used by some of the world’s biggest brands like Warner Music, Virgin Sport, Princess Cruises and Wilson because of its ability to handle huge spikes of web traffic and because of how it enables marketers to manage their brand digitally on a global level.

      TechRadar Pro recently had the opportunity to interview the creator of Drupal, Dries Buytaert who told us how he came to create the CMS and gave us insight into what's in store for future versions...

    • Acquia Lightning Revamped, Enonic 7.0 Released, More Open Source News [Ed: Drupal founder now selling better performance]
      Acquia, an open source digital experience software vendor, announced a new version of Acquia Lightning, a Drupal 8 distribution with pre-selected modules and configurations to help developers launch Drupal 8 sites faster.

      This newest version of Acquia’s Drupal 8 distribution offers new capabilities for developers, site builders, site managers and marketers to build sites faster and deliver the rich digital experiences today’s users want.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • State, City Spearheading Open Source, Disaster Partnerships [Ed: Nowadays even transparency is spun as "Open Source", e.g. (in this case) "transparency, collaboration and inclusion [...] Teamwork and open-source policies"]
      Officials from the California Government Operations Agency and the city of San Rafael discussed how themes of transparency, collaboration and inclusion permeate tech-infused initiatives in open source and disaster response.

    • QuantumBlack open sources its data analytics framework [Ed: McKinsey gets to stay secretive, dodgy and proprietary while openwashing]
      A new open source framework that aims to make building machine learning pipelines easier for data scientists was released today by QuantumBlack, the data analytics outfit snapped up by McKinsey in 2015 and that has its roots in data work for Formula 1 racing teams. The firm hopes that the fully open source development workflow, called Kedro, will become an industry standard for production-ready code in machine learning and data science.
    • Meet Kedro, McKinsey’s first open source software tool [Ed: Amid scandals (in the news) McKinsey resorts to openwashing while keeping almost everything proprietary]
      “It represents a big step for the firm,” notes Jeremy Palmer, CEO of QuantumBlack, “as we continue to balance the value of proprietary assets with opportunities to engage as part of the developer community, and accelerate as well as share our learning.”

    • Google open-sources soccer reinforcement learning simulator [Ed: When will Google also 'open-source' its models for assassination (the CIA work is was doing)?]
      About a dozen members of the Google Brain team today open-sourced Google Research Football Environment, a 3D reinforcement learning simulator for training AI to master soccer. The environment can simulate soccer matches, including particular scenarios like corner and penalty kicks, goals, and offsides. The news comes today at the start of the Women’s World Cup starts in France and a day after Google introduced pricing and games for its Stadia cloud gaming service.

    • DeepMind & Google Brain Open Source HLE Framework for ‘Hanabi’ [Ed: Google openwashing of its surveillance frameworks]
    • New open-source portal puts e-waste on the map
    • Salesforce moves Lightning Web Components to open source [Ed: Salesforce is as proprietary as it gets, so this is a clear case of openwashing to confuse people. All companies now try to pretend they're "open". ]
    • What Does The Future Of Open Source Look Like? [Ed: Looks like lots and lots of openwashing with groups like OSI and LF controlled by proprietary software companies]
    • Wind River Joins O-RAN Alliance to Support Growth of Open Source Innovation for 5G Networks [Ed: More openwashing of 5G which is very much proprietary software in every aspect (and lots of patent thickets, too)]
    • IBM bets on open source in telecom, prepares for global 5G deployment [Ed: IBM also participates in the 5G hype and openwashing]
    • IBM aims to meld Db2 with machine learning, data science workflows [Ed: Even IBM is openwashing its proprietary software without releasing a single line of meaningful code ("drivers for multiple open source programming languages")]
    • Amazon Open Sources Python Library for AWS Glue [Ed: Amazon is openwashing what glues companies' data to heavy, military-grade surveillance at AWS. How self-serving and comical/cynical a misuse of "open source", the label.]
    • Open source licensing violations can spell trouble [Ed: Microsoft propagandist Black Duck is still around and still attacking FOSS routinely. This was all along an anti-GPL operation set up by a Microsoft person. In internal Microsoft documents Microsoft makes it very clear that it needs to attack FOSS as a concept and to always do so by proxy (e.g. Black Duck) so as to appear neutral or friendly towards FOSS.]
    • Growing reliance on open source libraries leaves many companies vulnerable [Ed: And proprietary software never has bugs. Never. It's just... perfect! With perfect back doors, too.]
    • As developer toolchains consolidate, Microsoft takes pole position [Ed: This is Mac Asay, who tried to work for Microsoft. Instead he ended up writing Microsoft puff pieces for CBS (and his employers pays for the publishers for his lies to be published). Mac Asay is promoting proprietary software with DRM and back doors of Apple (at Android's expense), but that's just so predictable. Would he be printed if his employer didn't sponsor it (money for publishers)? One day ago Mac Asay was once again (as usual) moaning about FOSS and encouraging closing it for the sake of money (as if it's all that matters). TechCentral has republished the Microsoft puff piece from Dina Bass (“Microsoft learnt to love open-source software”), who has long been to Microsoft what Microsoft Peter was. We know based on internal emails. Livemint has also just reprinted these lies from Microsoft (relayed through a copywriter, Bass), under the headline “Microsoft reboots the way it works with software developers"; Best lies money can buy? BusinessWorld Online published this stenography (lies) under this headline: “Microsoft, no longer open source ‘Great Satan,’ woos skeptics to push growth”; this was later reprinted by the Bill Gates-bribed Seattle Times (one of many 'news' papers he pays) and Chicago Daily Herald.]

    • Stack (by Appodeal) Makes Its Ad Exchange, BidMachine, Available as Open-Source
      Stack, a global SaaS ad tech company by the team behind Appodeal, is making its programmatic ad exchange, BidMachine, available as open-source. Powered by in-app header bidding, BidMachine now enables mobile app publishers to connect directly with ad demand sources with unprecedented access, efficiency and transparency.

    • Appodeal’s Stack open-sources its BidMachine ad exchange for mobile app publishers [Ed: The openwashing of mass surveillance by very malicious corporations that spy and sell your secrets]
      Appodeal‘s Stack is making its programmatic ad exchange, BidMachine, available as an open source resource for mobile app publishers.

      Powered by in-app header bidding, BidMachine now enables mobile app publishers to connect directly with ad demand sources with access, efficiency, and transparency.

      San Francisco-based Stack is a software-as-a-service ad tech company created by Appodeal, an ad mediation company.
    • Stack Makes Its Ad Exchange, BidMachine, Available as Open-Source; Firefox Makes Enhanced Tracking Protection Available By Default
      In this weekly segment, ExchangeWire sums up key industry updates on ad tech from around the European region – in this edition: Stack makes its ad exchange, BidMachine, available as open-source; Firefox makes Enhanced Tracking Protection available by default; FreeWheel’s Blockgraph outlines new path for building the future of data-driven TV; Sublime announces acquisition of global measurement company Adledge; and IAS builds first-ever connected TV verification solution directly with leading video publishers including NBCUniversal and CBS Interactive.

  • Funding

  • Licensing/Legal

    • CockroachDB changes its open-source licensing model [Ed: Waffling tom avoid saying it became proprietary]
      Cockroach Labs has announced that it is switching CockroachDB away from the Apache License version 2 (APL).

      According to Cockroach Labs, its business model has long relied on the assumption that “companies could build a business around a strong open source core product without a much larger technology platform company coming along and offering the same product as a service.” But this is no longer the case, the company explained.

    • Another open-source database company will tighten its licensing strategy, wary of Amazon Web Services [Ed: Another reminder that all the cloudwashing by corporate media is an assault on FOSS because people are shamed into ceding control, giving all money and data to GAFAM]
      Cockroach Labs, the New York-based database company behind the open-source CockroachDB database, will change the terms of the license agreement in the next version of the open-source project to prohibit cloud providers like Amazon Web Services from offering a commercial version of that project as a service.

    • CockroachDB shelters from AWS extermination under Business Software License [Ed: Amazon's assault on FOSS using the AWS/cloudwashing craze yields results; FOSS becoming proprietary software and GAFAM couldn't care less.]
      Cockroach Labs has become the latest open source vendor to run for cover from AWS and other cloud vendors, by relicensing its CockroachDB under the Business Source License.

      In a post explaining the move, the companies’ founders wrote “We’re witnessing the rise of highly-integrated providers take advantage of their unique position to offer “as-a-service” versions of OSS products, and offer a superior user experience as a consequence of their integrations.” They cited AWS’ forked version of ElasticSearch.

    • Latest FSF Updates To Software Licenses
      If you've ever felt confused about open source licensing you are not alone. The good news is that the Free Software Foundation has a highly informative and well-maintained list of licenses, not only for software but also for documentation and for other works, drawing a distinction between free and non-free.

      The fact that that the Personal Public Licence Version 3a and the Anti-996 Licence have both been added to the non-free list isn't really the important bit of this news item. It is that the existence of the Various Licences and Comments about Them that deserves being better known.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Where Open Hardware Is Today
        Open hardware could not exist without the prior success of FOSS. It has been twenty years since the era, when FOSS was an untried idea. Since then, other groups based on the ideals and practices of FOSS, have grown into successful semi-independent communities of their own, such as OpenAccess and OpenStack. FOSS ideals no longer have to be proved, so open hardware does not need to be defended, either.

        If anything, open hardware has gone on to have its own successes. Like FOSS before it, open hardware has an affinity with academia, where the exchange of ideas is a norm analogous to copyleft licenses. When academics venture into manufacturing, they are likely to organize under the same principles.

        FOSS-based ideals are especially common in non-profits. Probably one of the biggest successes for open hardware is in the field of aesthetics. A traditionally constructed artificial hand costs upwards of $30,000. That price is beyond the reach of many families in a developing nation like India, where the average family income is about $21,000. By contrast, a custom-made artificial hand is sold by an open-hardware company like Open Bionics for $400. Although the cost of an open hardware hand is still high by the standards of developing nations, it is at least within reach, especially with charity. It also means, of course, that seventy-five open hardware hands can be made for the price of one proprietary one. Building on FOSS, open hardware has gone on to prove its own practicality.

      • ERASynth Micro affordable USB open source RF signal generator
        Access to an RF signal generator can sometimes be a little tricky for electronic enthusiasts and developers due to the cost implications. ERA Instruments is hoping to change this with the launch of their affordable open source RF signal generator in the form of the ERASynth Micro. RF signal generators are normally expensive pieces of test equipment mainly used by professional engineers. The ERASynth Micro has been specifically designed for makers to remove the cost implications and provide a quality RF signal synthesis accessible to everyone.

      • REFLO Air open source, smart PCB reflow machine
        Electronic enthusiasts searching for a new compact open source Smart PCB reflow machine may be interested in a new device created by the team at MagicBox, called the REFLO Air. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the heater system housed in a compact enclosure and now available to back via the Crowd Supply website with earlybird pledges available from $199 and worldwide shipping expected to take place towards the end of next month during July 2019.

      • Qualcomm backs open-source alternative to Arm, x86: Should Arm be worried?
        Consumer gadgets such as smart speakers, smartwatches, and smartphones generally use processors based on Intel’s x86 and Arm’s instruction sets. However, the open-source RISC-V instruction set is gaining prominence too, and industry bigwig Qualcomm has backed a company dealing with the technology.

        According to The Information (paywall), chip design company SiFive has raised $65.4 million as part of its latest funding round. This funding round includes an investment from Qualcomm, and sees the San Diego giant join the likes of Intel and Samsung as investors in the firm. So what makes SiFive and RISC-V so special?
      • Qualcomm backs Sifive, open source alternative to ARM
        ARM’s been in the news more and more lately. They are after all one of the leaders when it comes to processor instruction sets. Outside of Intel’s x86, we haven’t really seen any real competitor to ARM, at least until now. Sifive is a plucky startup that utilizes the open source RISC-V instruction set for their processors.

      • OpenHW Group Created and Announces CORE-V Family of Open-source Cores for Use in High Volume Production SoCs
        A new not-for-profit global organization aims to boost the adoption of open-source processors by providing a platform for collaboration, creating a focal point for ecosystem development, and offering open-source IP for processor cores.

      • Andes Technology Corp. Senior VP, Emerson Hsiao to Be Panelist for “Open Source ISAs – Will the IP Industry Find Commercial Success?” at DAC 2019 in Las Vegas
        Andes Technology Corporation, a founding member of the RISC-V Foundation and leading supplier of small, low-power, high performance 32/64-bit embedded CPU and next generation RISC-V cores, today announced that Senior VP, Andes Technology USA Corp., Emerson Hsiao will participate on the panel “Open Source ISAs – Will the IP Industry Find Commercial Success?” at DAC 2019 in Las Vegas.

      • Popcorn open source mini PC computers hit Kickstarter [Ed: What they mean by "open source" isn't quite that; more like modularity]
        Source Parts has taken to Kickstarter this week to launch two new open source mini PC computers in the form of the Original Popcorn and Super Popcorn. Super Popcorn and Super ‘8’ Popcorn share many of the same specifications. They only differ in the main processor.

      • An open-source AI bionic leg is the future of prosthetics
        Open-source projects to develop smart prosthetics for the upper body, such as hands, are well-established parts of the bionic landscape. Now, legs get to join the party, thanks to the efforts of scientists Levi Hargrove and Elliott Rouse at the University of Michigan and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

        An open-source, artificially intelligent prosthetic leg was unveiled at Amazon’s Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas this afternoon (June 5) ahead of its release to the wider scientific community. It’s hoped that researchers and patients will work collaboratively to improve the leg, via its free-to-copy design and programming. (The current price to build it as specified is $28,500, including the Raspberry Pi that powers its AI; patients are not advised to see it as a “build-at-home solution.”)
      • Open-source bionic leg: First-of-its-kind platform aims to rapidly advance prosthetics
        A new open-source, artificially intelligent prosthetic leg designed by researchers at the University of Michigan and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is now available to the scientific community.

        The leg’s free-to-copy design and programming are intended to improve the quality of life of patients and accelerate scientific advances by offering a unified platform to fragmented research efforts across the field of bionics.

        “Our Open-Source Bionic Leg will enable investigators to efficiently solve challenges associated with controlling bionic legs across a range of activities in the lab and out in the community,” said lead designer Elliott Rouse, core faculty at U-M’s Robotics Institute and assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “In addition, we hope our bionic leg will unite researchers with a common hardware platform and enable new investigators from related fields to develop innovative control strategies.”

  • Programming/Development


  • Science

    • The Fallacy of Techno-Optimism

      “Trusting our own history” means relying on what happened in the past to tell us what will happen in the future. That’s a recipe for getting it wrong. When forecasting the future, perhaps the only thing that can be trusted is the emergence of unprecedented, unpredictable events that violate past trends. On the eve of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, none of the models used to forecast house prices accounted for the possibility of a price collapse—for the simple reason that no such collapse had ever happened. Price data was historical, and extrapolating that history into the future rendered us blind to the possibility that something ahistorical might happen. Or as Pessimists Archive unwittingly put it: the possibility that “this time it’s different.”

      But techno-optimists take the exercise a step further, by using data about one thing to forecast the future of an entirely different thing. This moves us from the flawed to the absurd. For instance, when techno-optimists compare anxiety over driverless cars to the protests of the horse-and-buggy industry over the automobile, they ignore the ways that driverless cars implicate fundamentally different problems than did automobiles. Driverless cars stand ready to collect immense amounts of personal data about the habits of their passengers, and their networked structure creates serious national security risks. What could the successful debut of the automobile in the early 20th century possibly tell us about that?

    • NASA is opening the space station to commercial business and more private astronauts

      NASA leadership has made it clear that the space agency wants to eventually transition control of the International Space Station and its region of space, low Earth orbit, to the private sector someday. It costs NASA $3 to $4 billion a year to operate the ISS, and by handing over control of the station, NASA could have more money to pursue much more ambitious missions, like the agency’s goals of building a new space station around the Moon and sending humans back to the lunar surface. In 2018, the president’s budget request called on ending direct funding for the ISS by 2025 and ceding operations of the orbiting lab to private companies. The White House is no longer pursuing that deadline of 2025 due to pushback from lawmakers, but NASA is still looking to jump-start the private space industry’s takeover of low Earth orbit.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Alabama Abortion Fund Buoyed by Outpouring of Support After Ban’s Passage
      We saw this big outpouring of support from folks all around the country and internationally — people with donations, and people being outraged.

      We also saw a mass panic. Usually we get five to seven calls a day, but the very next day we had 20 to 30 calls because people were scared that abortion was illegal. And if it wasn’t already illegal, they had questions about when it was going to be illegal.

      They needed information about where they could go out of state to get their abortion — if we could fund their abortion — because they didn’t want to run out of time. And then we had people calling wondering if they were still going to be able to go to their appointments at the clinic.

    • Will the Trump USDA Deliver on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans? Our New Report Shows What’s at Stake
      Sixty percent of adults the United States are now living with one or more chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. That’s 150 million people—not counting millions of children and young adults—whose daily lives are disrupted by poor health. These chronic conditions are the leading causes of death and disability, and they’re also the leading drivers of the $3.5 trillion we spend on health care each year.

      I’m not quick to call something a “crisis,” but the current trajectory of population health renders possible a future in which the vast majority of us are simply too sick to thrive. If we don’t make some changes, that future may come sooner than we think.

      Luckily, we’re far from exhausting our options. One of the most powerful pathways to better health is through better nutrition. A recent study estimated that nearly half of all deaths from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes in the US could be attributed to poor diets. This and other research suggest that there is vast untapped potential to improve our health and wellbeing with the food we put on our plates.

      That’s why, in a new report, we examined just how many lives might be saved and medical costs might be spared if adults in the US made key dietary changes to eat less processed meat, less added sugar, and more fruits and vegetables. We looked at these changes through the lens of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the leading set of science-based dietary recommendations in the US, currently in the process of being updated. The results make an overwhelming case for the federal government to take a fresh look at its food policy.

    • At AMA's Annual Meeting, Doctors and Nurses Demand Powerful Lobbying Group 'Get Out of the Way' In Fight for Medicare for All
      Nurses, doctors, and medical students on Saturday afternoon gathered outside the Hyatt Regency hotel in Chicago, where the largest professional association for physicians was holding their annual meeting, to demand that the group "do no harm" and stop standing in the way of real, meaningful healthcare reform.

      National Nurses United (NNU) and Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) were among the groups that gathered to call on the American Medical Association (AMA) to support a Medicare for All program, which would replace the for-profit health insurance industry with government-funded healthcare for everyone in the United States.

      On social media, the groups used the hashtag #AMAGetOutTheWay to rally support for the protest.

  • Security

    • Report: No ‘Eternal Blue’ Exploit Found in Baltimore City Ransomware

      But according to Joe Stewart, a seasoned malware analyst now consulting with security firm Armor, the malicious software used in the Baltimore attack does not contain any Eternal Blue exploit code. Stewart said he obtained a sample of the malware that he was able to confirm was connected to the Baltimore incident.

    • China Plans to Create a Technology Security Management System

      The National Development and Reform Commission has been tasked with setting up the list system which aims to “more effectively forestall and defuse national security risks,” Xinhua reported on Saturday. Details on the measures will be provided in the near future, according to the news agency.

    • BGP event sends European mobile traffic through China Telecom for 2 hours

      The incident started around 9:43am UTC on Thursday (2:43am California time). That's when AS21217, the autonomous system belonging to Switzerland-based data center colocation company Safe Host, improperly updated its routers to advertise it was the proper path to reach what eventually would become more than 70,000 Internet routes comprising an estimated 368 million IP addresses. China Telecom's AS4134, which struck a network peering arrangement with Safe Host in 2017, almost immediately echoed those routes rather than dropping them, as proper BGP filtering practices dictate. In short order, a large number of big networks that connect to China Telecom began following the route.

      The result: much of the traffic destined for telecommunications providers using the affected IP addresses passed through China Telecom equipment before either being sent to their final stop or being dropped during long waits caused by the roundabout paths. [...]

    • Fortune 500 company Tech Data leaks 264GB of private data

      While the card numbers were obfuscated, the data wasn't encrypted, and it's possible there's more than this: going through an entire 264GB file is somewhat time-consuming, after all. The site did say the sample its reporters saw contained "tens of thousands of customers," and it was a fraction of the larger database.

      This data was kept on a server for support agents to look at for troubleshooting purposes, but the company had neglected to put a password on it - meaning anybody with access to a web browser could look at the logs at will.

    • An Open Source Program Aims to Help Idaho Shore Up Cyberdefenses
      The mitigation of phishing is a top priority for Idaho, said ITS Administrator Jeff Weak. Phishing is the practice of sending emails that appear to be from a reputable source but hide malware links or try to convince users to reveal personal or system information.

      “Phishing, in general, that’s our biggest threat because we can stop a lot of the payload of most malware coming through. We have multiple layers of detection going through our email system so it will strip out virtually anything that looks out of place,” Weak said. “Where that gets tricky is in hyperlinks and things of that nature that look natural to an email or if it’s embedded into another link inside of a Word document, for example.”

      Idaho is currently in its second year of mandated cybersecurity training for state employees, he said. The learning modules, provided by KnowBe4, include a phishing course. One goal is to educate personnel on differentiating emails that make it past current cyberdefenses and into their inboxes.

    • Malicious Actors Create “Frankenstein Monsters” by Combining Open Source Components [Ed: TechNadu has somehow managed to blame security issues in Windows (which is insecure by design) on "open source"; amazing spin]
      Examples of these open source and freely available components include a tool that leverages MSBuild to execute a PowerShell command, another GitHub hosted project called Fruityc2 that is used to build stagers, the “PowerShell Empire”, and an article to help the attackers detect whether their software is running in a virtual machine or not. The reason for using open source tools is not only because they are free and readily available, but also because they feature higher operational security and make the malicious activities and the group behind them harder to detect. Custom tools on the other side leave unique traces, as they are developed by specific groups of hackers.

    • Checkmarx Makes SCA Market Waves with Enhanced Open Source Security Offering

    • Security updates for Monday

    • Lessons From Global Cybersecurity Breaches For Your Next M&A

    • Cryptocurrency attack thwarted by npm team
      Cryptocurrency users narrowly escaped losing all their funds last week after an attacker poisoned a digital wallet with malicious code that stole their blockchain access details.

      The attacker injected malicious code into Agama, a cryptocurrency wallet created by Komodo. If successful, they could have stolen around $13m of Komodo’s KMD cryptocurrency, which is a privacy-centric coin. Luckily, they were thwarted by quick action from both Komodo and software repository npm.

    • Firefox fires blocks at trackers, Exim tackles 7-day remote flaw, and RDP pops up yet again
      Are you running the latest version (4.9.2) of Exim on your Linux box? If so, you can go ahead and skip down to the next item, because you're already clear of danger.

      Everyone else may want to consider updating, because older versions of the Linux mail server have been found to contain a command execution vulnerability that has now been confirmed to be remotely exploitable.

      The bug, initially thought only to be locally exploitable, was first addressed in February of this year when the latest Exim build was released. At the time, it was not considered to be a major security issue, but rather a minor bug that wouldn't need to be addressed in older versions.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • We Need to Beat Our Own Swords Into Plowshares and Honor the Kent State Martyrs, the Wounded, and Their Families
      Following the May 4, 1970 massacre of students at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio by members of the Ohio National Guard, colleges and universities across the U.S. were in an uproar that ended in the closing of hundreds of campuses for the academic year and the outrage of millions of students and others across the U.S. Nixon had launched an attack against Cambodia, which had been going on secretly for some time, so his betrayal of his own “secret plan” for peace was a joke as most already knew. Much of the war in Southeast Asia had morphed into a concentrated air war, but thousands of ground troops would still die. Millions in Southeast Asia would die.

      Recently, a tempest took place on and off the campus of Kent State after a popular professor and former CIA employee, Professor Stephanie Smith (Common Dreams,“Facing Growing Backlash CIA Veteran Stephanie Smith Steps Down As Chair of Kent State 50th May 4 Commemoration Advisory Committee,” May 23, 2019), was appointed as the chairperson of the university’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the massacre. On its face, the appointment seems more ludicrous than can be imagined, a binding of George Orwell and Lewis Carroll, but a swift reaction headed by Laurel Krause (co-founder of The Kent State Truth Tribunal), the sister of Kent State martyr Allison Krause, included an email campaign that led to the resignation of Smith.

      Mike Alewitz, Kent State massacre witness quoted in CounterPunch said that “This appointment is a travesty and an insult to all those that seek social justice,” (CounterPunch, “CIS Veteran to Chair Kent State 50th May 4 Commemoration Advisory Committee,” May 19, 2019).

    • The Force that is Ending Freedom
      Every empire is a dictatorship. No nation can be a democracy that’s either heading an empire, or a vassal-state of one. Obviously, in order to be a vassal-state within an empire, that nation is dictated-to by the nation of which it is a colony.

      However, even the domestic inhabitants of the colonizing nation cannot be free and living in a democracy, because their services are needed abroad in order to impose the occupying force upon the colony or vassal-nation. This is an important burden upon the ‘citizens’ or actually the subjects of the imperial nation.

      Furthermore, they need to finance, via their taxes, this occupying force abroad, to a sufficient extent so as to subdue any resistance by the residents in any colony.

      Every empire is imposed, none is really voluntary. Conquest creates an empire, and the constant application of force maintains it.

      Every empire is a dictatorship, not only upon its foreign populations (which goes without saying, because otherwise there can’t be any empire), but upon its domestic ones too, upon its own subjects.

    • Haiti: the Overpass to Nowhere
      In August 2015, President Michel Martelly inaugurated the Delmas viaduct, a four-lane overpass designed to ease the capital’s grid-locked streets. “This viaduct proves once again that together we can achieve great and beautiful things,” Martelly told the large crowd that had assembled. “More than a dream, more than a project, this viaduct is now one of the symbols of Port-au-Prince.”

      Underneath the overpass, bands provided live entertainment throughout the hours-long inauguration ceremony which eventually turned into a political rally. Martelly’s term as president was coming to an end, and presidential elections were set to take place in a few months.

      “This is the man I have picked to succeed me for my party,” Martelly said from the stage, calling up the man next to him for all to see. “His name is Jovenel Moïse.”

      Nearly four years later, on May 31, 2019, Haiti’s Superior Court of Auditors (CSCCA) released a 600-page investigation into more than $2.3 billion in Petrocaribe-related expenditures between 2008 and 2016, when Moïse eventually secured the presidency. The report identified nearly $2 million in questionable payments made to Moïse in late 2014 and early 2015. The largest came just days after he registered as the governing party’s presidential candidate.

      As for the viaduct, Martelly was right. It has become a symbol of Port-au-Prince. A concrete symbol of government waste. And a rallying point for Haiti’s growing anticorruption movement.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A Radical Idea to Get a High-Renewable Electric Grid: Build Way More Solar and Wind Than Needed
      The famous inventor Edwin Land said, “It’s not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas.” He seemed to be telling us that solutions lie just beyond our old habits of thinking.

      Cities, states and countries around the world are committing to clean energy economies that run on very high levels — even 100 percent — of renewable energy. In New York state alone, four competing bills target 50 percent to 100 percent renewables by or before 2040.

      Realistically, only two renewable energy resources are large enough to meet these very high-penetration objectives on the supply side in the U.S. — solar (by far) and wind.

    • Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes

      In a new paper, researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, performed a life cycle assessment for training several common large AI models. They found that the process can emit more than 626,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent—nearly five times the lifetime emissions of the average American car (and that includes manufacture of the car itself).

    • "This Is What Fascists Do": Trump Attempted to Suppress State Dept Analyst's Testimony on Climate Crisis
      The Trump administration issued one of its most blatant attacks on climate science this past week when it tried to stop a State Department employee from testifying on the climate crisis, reports showed on Saturday.

      As the Washington Post reported, intelligence analyst Rod Schoonover's testimony was submitted to the White House for approval ahead of his planned appearance before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. His remarks focused on the national security risks posed by the climate crisis.

      The Trump administration refused to approve the testimony for entry into the congressional record, noting that the data Schoonover planned to present—drawing from top government scientists' research and peer-reviewed scientific reports—did not align with the executive branch's views.

    • Greenpeace Campaigners Stop BP Rig Bound for North Sea, Stalling Fossil Fuel Giant's Plan to Extract 30 Million Barrels of Oil
      Three Greenpeace campaigners halted a British Petroleum oil rig off the coast of Scotland on Sunday as it prepared to leave for the North Sea to drill oil wells.

      Carrying enough provisions to last several days aboard the rig, the climate action advocates pulled up to the 27,000-ton vessel in small boats as it attempted to leave Cromarty Firth, bound for the Vorlich oil field where BP plans to access up to 30 million barrels of oil.

      The campaigners unfurled a banner reading "Climate Emergency" after climbing the rig.

    • Victim of the World Wildlife Fund
      ZEMBLA discovers that WWF promotes birth control programs that include contraception and even sterilization for men and women. The fight against poachers is getting grimmer all the time. ZEMBLA travels to India, where local inhabitants are wrongly accused of poaching, are being tortured and sometimes even killed. On camera, guards from Kaziranga National Park state that they are allowed to shoot unwanted people.

    • 'The DNC Is on the Wrong Side of History': Challenged by Activists, Tom Perez Says Hosting 2020 Debate on Climate Crisis 'Not Practical'
      "A lot of young people say we should have a single debate focused on climate change," Perez told activists after delivering a speech at the gala. But, the DNC chairman added, "once you have one single issue debate, then every debate leads to become a single issue debate in order to address the concerns."

      "So these debates, and we will have issue areas in debates, including but not limited to climate," Perez said, "but it's just not practical for us to have one debate on democracy reform, one debate on voting."

      Perez's remarks provoked further outrage from grassroots groups that have been demanding a climate-specific debate, particularly given that past presidential debates have largely ignored the crisis—even in the face of scientific evidence showing that immediate and drastic action must be taken to avert catastrophic warming.

      "What's actually unrealistic: the Democratic establishment saying we'll stop climate change when they aren't even willing to have a debate on it," the youth-led Sunrise Movement tweeted in response to Perez's comments, which came just days after he announced that the DNC would not host a climate-specific debate and would punish candidates who attend a debate hosted by a different organization.

    • Americans’ Extinction Denial Syndrome
      I was talking yesterday with a woman at HealthGuard, a water testing firm we’ve used in the past to test the water in our artesian well for contaminants. We hadn’t done it in five years because the last test showed it to be free of anything nasty, from coliform bacteria to pesticide traces and heavy metals — so pure in fact we could bottle it and sell it.

      We decided to test the well again because although we live on 2.3 wooded acres and don’t use chemicals on the property ourselves, we are surrounded by suburban homes that, as evidenced by most of their lawns being totally lacking in dandelions, clearly use gallons glyphosate-laced

      I turns out the test we had done before tested for everything but herbicides, so we are testing now for glyphosate too. The woman at HealthGuard said it was becoming a popular test, and that, as I know, the chemical is showing up everywhere.

      I don’t know what the test results will be. Our well is 160 feet deep, so we may be lucky. I’m sure that any glyphosate will be minimal compared to what’s in the public water supply in our town, which had to shut down several of its system’s wells because of contamination with PFAs from a now closed Naval air station two miles from us. Fingers crossed.

      But the situation with our well and the paucity of dandelions in our neighborhood got me thinking about how crazy our society is.

    • Thirty years to climate meltdown – or not?
      How much of a threat is climate meltdown? Should we treat it as the biggest danger to life in the 21st century, or as one of many problems − serious, but manageable?

      A new study says human civilisation itself could pass the point of no return by 2050. The Australian climate think-tank Breakthrough: National Centre for Climate Restoration says that unless humanity takes drastic and immediate action to save the climate, a combination of unstable food production, water shortages and extreme weather could lead to the breakdown of global society.

      One renowned US climate scientist, Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, says that Breakthrough is exaggerating and its report could be counter-productive.

      In the UK, though, Mark Maslin of University College London says the report underlines the deep concerns expressed by some security experts.

      Act together

      Chris Barrie, a retired Royal Australian Navy admiral and former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, is now an honorary professor at the Australian National University, Canberra.

      In a foreword to the Breakthrough study he writes: “We must act collectively. We need strong, determined leadership in government, in business and in our communities to ensure a sustainable future for humankind.”

      David Spratt, Breakthrough’s research director and a co-author of the study, says that “much knowledge produced for policymakers is too conservative,” but that the new paper, by showing the extreme end of what could happen in just the next three decades, aims to make the stakes clear. “The report speaks, in our opinion, a harsh but necessary truth,” he says.

    • Justice Through Citizen Science: How ‘Chemical Fingerprinting’ Could Change Public Health
      In the early 2000s, residents of a small, Rust Belt city called Tonawanda, New York, began noticing something strange: Over the years, it seemed, an increasing number of people were getting sick — primarily with cancer.

      Tonawanda’s a highly industrial city with more than 50 polluting facilities situated within a three-mile radius. It was common for the air to feel dense and to smell like gasoline. Residents wondered what toxic chemicals might be in the air and if they were making them sick.

      Seeking to answer that question, in 2005 a small group of concerned residents took to their streets armed with five-gallon buckets, plastic baggies, plastic hoses and a handheld vacuum to suck out samples from the heavy, foul-smelling air.

      Lab testing confirmed their fears: Air samples they’d taken near a plant called Tonawanda Coke, which produced a high-carbon form of coal, contained extremely high levels of industrial toxins, including benzene — a hydrocarbon linked to cancers, infertility, growth problems and an array of blood diseases. It was present in the air at a rate of 25 times what the federal government estimates an average American is exposed to in a lifetime.

    • The Permafrost Nightmare Turns (More) Real
      Permafrost covers 25% of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the world’s largest icebox, and its landmass is 4.5xs larger than Antarctica, 6.5xs larger than the United States. It is stuffed full of carbon locked in frozen ground accumulated over eons, which, by way of contrast, makes coal power plant emissions look bush-league.

      Most notably, permafrost has an image of permanence and slow/gradual change, “the sloth of the north.” But, that slothful image is now out-of-date. Global warming has changed the equation. Nowadays, permafrost disintegration is officially hot news.

      Scientists that have long studied the gradual thawing of permafrost are now experiencing a dramatic switch from their former “eyes wide shut” viewpoint, i.e., refusing to see something that’s in plain view because of preconceived notions. That slothful image of yesteryear has been shattered via numerous studies, as for example: Merritt Turetsky, Canadian Research Chair in Integrative Ecology, University of Guelph, “Rapid Permafrost Thaw Unrecognized Threat to Landscape, Global Warming Researcher Warns,” Nature d/d May 1, 2019.

      Gradual permafrost thaw is now passé: “Turetsky and an international team of researchers are looking at something very different: Rapid collapse of permafrost that can transform the landscape in mere months through subsidence, flooding and landslides,” Ibid.

    • Buildings Are Hazardous to Migratory Birds, But There Are Solutions
      Bird migration is a wondrous and majestic phenomenon. In North America, one may witness flocks of colorful songbirds sweeping the skies, geese gliding in a V-shape of beautiful symmetry, or a great hawk soaring above and diving for prey at 120 miles per hour.

      About half of all birds in the world migrate, and even the smallest may travel remarkably long distances. Incredibly, the tiny hummingbird can fly nonstop 600 miles over the Gulf of Mexico. Some round-trip migrations can wind their way for as long as 44,000 miles.

      Most songbirds migrate at night, and nocturnal travel makes their journey particularly perilous in light of human development. Birds face many obstacles along the way, including extreme weather events and lack of habitat. Yet, one particularly tragic and preventable peril stands out: human-made structures.

      Scientists estimate an astounding upper-level figure of 1 billion birds that die in the U.S. each year from building collisions. Making matters worse, 40 percent of the world’s bird species are already in decline. In the last decade alone, four bird species became extinct and four more are “on the verge of extinction.” In the U.S., the Fish and Wildlife Service classifies 101 bird species as threatened or endangered as of 2019.

      Artificial light from buildings draws migratory birds like a beckoning siren, luring them toward lit cities where skyscraper glass reflections are plentiful and deadly. What appear to be skies and trees turn out to be deceptive reflections, and as the birds glide toward the images, they slam into the glass. Many are killed instantly, while some are seriously wounded.

  • Finance

    • Colleges Are Investing In Administration At The Expense Of Education

    • The rise of universities’ diversity bureaucrats

      One result of all this is growing “resistance, anger, grumpiness, and eventually backlash” to the proliferation of diversity officials, says Alexandra Kalev of Tel Aviv University, one of the authors of the study on diversity training at American universities. Many white male professors, she found, now limit campus interaction with minorities and women, lest an unintentional slight get them in trouble. High spending on diversity officials also leads to fewer classes, as well as higher tuition fees, which make it harder for minorities, who are disproportionately poor, to attend college. Might students rebel? It looks unlikely. The era of Donald Trump seems to have strengthened the diversity bureaucracy’s belief that students’ feelings must be protected.

    • Payday lenders switched their trade show to a Trump hotel and sent Trump at least a million bucks, then he gave them carte blanche to make billions preying on poor people

      Now, Propublica reports from the second annual payday lending convention to be held at the Trump Doral resort (the industry had never held an event at a Trump property prior to Trump's election), which have pumped at least $1m into Trump's personal coffers. The investigation reveals the suite of measures that Trump has put in place to benefit the predatory lending industry, and describe how Warren and Obama's plan to Republican-proof the CFPB by giving it an untouchable executive who wouldn't be subject to executive or congressional meddling backfired spectacularly when their chairman, Richard Cordray, quit to run unsuccessfully for the governorship of Ohio, leaving his position vacant for Trump to fill with a series of deplorable swamp creatures who have gutted the bureau.

      Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have co-sponsored extensive anti-loan-sharking legislation that would restore many of the protections that Trump has removed.

    • Group Launches First Tourist Train Service Through Russia's Arctic Region To Norway

      The initial train with 91 passengers aboard left St. Petersburg on June 5 for an 11-day "test journey," passing through Petrozavodsk, the historic town of Kem, and Murmansk.

    • Family blames Uber after 12-year-old rides alone to her suicide

      Benita reportedly downloaded Uber's app in January while her mother was asleep before hailing a car and riding to the closed parking garage, apparently completing the trip without question from the driver.

    • Uber: Two top executives leave in leadership 'reshuffle'

      As part of the reorganisation, which was detailed in the memo seen by several news outlets, Mr Khosrowshahi said he had eliminated the position of COO, which Barney Harford had held since January 2018.

      Mr Khosrowshahi said the role "no longer makes sense", and Uber's Rides and Eats teams would now directly report to him in order to help "problem-solve in real time".

      Rebecca Messina - who joined as head of marketing nine months ago - has also stepped aside, with marketing operations set to be combined with Uber's policy and communications and policy team, led by Jill Hazelbaker.

    • Uber Operating, Marketing Chiefs Leaving in Leadership Shake-Up

      After a tumultuous stock debut, Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi is parting ways with two top lieutenants in a major leadership overhaul. Barney Harford, the chief operating officer, and Rebecca Messina, the chief marketing officer, are both leaving the company, Uber said.

    • As Illinois Expands Gambling, It Will Also Try to Determine How Many Gambling Addicts It Has
      Before he managed to kick his gambling habit in 2014, Chris — a 62-year-old lawyer and grandfather — saw a good chunk of his retirement account disappear at the craps tables of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

      “I estimated that I lost somewhere between $600,000 and $700,000,” he said last week in the living room of his house in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood.

      With help from his gambling-addiction counselor, Chris says he hasn’t gambled in five years and is confident he will resist the temptation of all the new opportunities to bet that Illinois lawmakers approved this month.

      But Chris and other recovering gambling addicts say they fear the impact the expansion will have on others who are still hooked. And they say more gambling opportunities inevitably create new addicts.

      A review of Springfield’s 816-page gambling bill by ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ found that the number of state-sponsored gambling “positions” — seats to place a bet inside a casino, bar or racetrack — will jump from almost 44,000 to nearly 80,000.
    • To Be Effective, Socialism Must Adapt to 21st Century Needs
      The first thing to acknowledge is that “socialism” is not merely a set of ideas or a policy framework or anything like that. Socialism is a political movement, a general way of referring to a situation where the workers gain the upper hand in the class struggle and put in place institutions, policies and social networks that advantage the workers. When the political movement is weak and the workers are on the weaker side of the class struggle, it is impossible to speak confidently of “socialism.” So, we need to study carefully how and why workers — the immense majority of humanity — began to see the reservoirs of their strength get depleted. To my mind, the core issue here is globalization — a set of structural and subjective developments that weakened worker power. Let’s take the developments in turn.

      There were three structural developments that are essential. First, major technological changes in the world of communications, database management and transportation that allowed firms to have a global reach. The global commodity chain of this period enabled firms to disarticulate production — break up factories into their constituent units and place them around the world. Second, the third world debt crisis debilitated the power of national liberation states and states that — even weakly — had tried to create development pathways for their populations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The debt crisis led to [International Monetary Fund] IMF-driven structural adjustment programs that released hundreds of millions of workers to international capital and for the workforce of the new global commodity chain. Third, the collapse of the USSR and the Eastern bloc, as well as the changes in China provided international capital with hundreds of millions of more workers. What we saw is in this period of globalization was the break-up of the factory form, which weakened trade unions; the impossibility of nationalization of firms, which weakened national liberation states; and the use of the concept of arbitrage to force a race to the bottom for workers. These structural developments, from which workers have not recovered, deeply weakened the workers’ movement.

    • As Democratic Candidates Gather in Iowa, Sanders Marches Alongside McDonald's Workers to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
      Rallying McDonald's workers in the same way he worked alongside Disney and Amazon employees in their fight for fair wages and union representation, Sen. Bernie Sanders marched alongside workers at a rally Sunday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

      The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate addressed workers outside a local McDonald's store before marching with them to the DoubleTree hotel and convention center where 19 primary candidates were gathered for the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Celebration.

    • How Urban Planners Promote Gentrification
      Urban planners are either praised or criticized for designing our cities. Planner Samuel Stein’s Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State, falls in the second camp, accusing planners of being unwitting advocates for capitalism. Even though planners see themselves as protectors of the common good, Stein says they hurt most people by “turning everyone’s space into someone’s profit.”

      According to Stein government planning is tied to private real estate interests; we are at that point in history where the bulk of private capital flows from investing in manufacturing to land. The result is a “Real Estate State” that facilitates this transition, not only in the United States but throughout the world. He documents how real estate now “makes up 60% of the world’s assets, and the vast majority of that wealth – roughly 75 percent – is in housing.”

      This trend did not begin overnight. Surprisingly, he blames President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation establishing the Federal Housing Administration to standardize, regulate and insure home mortgages. Although it attempted to be progressive, the FHA adopted real estate industry “best practices” that made segregation and suburbanization the US de facto housing policy; over time he says, “Black, immigrant and racially mixed neighborhoods were shut out of the finance system.”

    • If the University of Alabama Doesn’t Need Hugh Culverhouse, Jr.’s Money, it Doesn’t Need Yours
      Last year, Florida attorney and philanthropist Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. donated $26.5 million to the University of Alabama. The university, grateful for its largest private contribution ever, reciprocated by naming its law school after him. Hugh and UA, sittin’ in a tree …

      On June 7, the UA’s board of trustees voted to return his donation (and presumably rename the school). Love-hate relationship, I guess.

      Why? They claim it’s over an argument as to how they spend the money, but he says they’re lying and the reason he offers is more a lot more believable given the timing.

      His discussions with the school over the uses his donation are put to are ongoing. But last week, he said something they didn’t like. Specifically, he publicly urged students to boycott the school in protest of Alabama’s new abortion law.

      Agree with him or not — on abortion, on the specific law, or on how students should respond to that law — Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. is a private citizen with a right to say anything he pleases.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • No, WSJ, Palestinians have Not given up on National Rights
      The Wall Street Journal yesterday trolled he Palestinians with a breathless head line that “some” Palestinians are giving up on having their own state.

      Anyone who has been following the Palestine issue knows that for some time a plurality of Palestinians has swung behind a one-state solution and now want Isaeli citizenship.

      This result does not come from the dimming of nationalist aspirations but from the weary realism of a colonized people facing the best-armed army in the Middle East, which is backed by the world’s sole superpower.

    • Joe Biden’s Political Glory Days Are Finally Over
      News outlets are reporting that you’re determined to prevent your campaign from turning into an “apology tour” this summer. But your only other option is a campaign of denial — sinking deeper into a quagmire of unsustainable pretense.

      After your flip-flop late last week that finally renounced your 40 years of support for the Hyde Amendment’s discriminatory limits on reproductive rights for low-income women, the New York Times reported that your campaign’s “larger concern” has been “the implications of Mr. Biden spending too much time reversing or expressing remorse for his past policy stances.”

      Those implications are easy to understand. Your “past policy stances” have done so much harm — to so many people for so long — that if you start “expressing remorse,” there might be no end in sight.

      “Before entering the race,” the Times reported, “Mr. Biden and his inner circle resolved that while he would have to take steps to assuage liberal reservations about his record, he could not afford to make the first few months of the campaign an extended apology tour.”

      But an extended apology tour would be entirely appropriate. Pretending that you don’t have much to apologize for is not viable.

    • Case Open: Democrats Begin Public Airing of Mueller Report
      President Donald Trump says it’s “case closed.” But Democrats are just getting started with Robert Mueller.

      House Democrats have scheduled a series of hearings this coming week on the special counsel’s report as they intensify their focus on the Russia probe and pick up the pace on an investigative “path” — in the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — that some of them hope leads to impeachment of the president. In doing so, they are trying to draw the public’s attention on the allegations that Trump sought to obstruct a federal investigation and they want to highlight his campaign’s contacts with Russia in the 2016 election.And they will lay the groundwork for an appearance from Mueller himself, despite his stated desire to avoid the spotlight.

      The hearings will focus on the two main topics of Mueller’s report, obstruction of justice and Russian election interference.

      The House Judiciary Committee plans to cover the first topic at a Monday hearing on “presidential obstruction and other crimes.” The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday intends to review the counterintelligence implications of the Russian meddling. Mueller said there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but he said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction.

      On Tuesday, the House has scheduled a vote to authorize contempt cases against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Donald McGahn for failing to comply with subpoenas from the Democratic-controlled House.

    • What the Gun Control Movement Can Learn From Marriage Equality
      If there exists a major social movement in America that has established a clear long-term goal and then, over a period of decades, developed a multi-pronged strategy and achieved it, I can think of no better example than the successful push for marriage equality.

    • Sticks and Stones: GOP Says Dems Can't Call Lying Power-Abusing Crook, Conman, Bigot and Demagogue A Lying Power-Abusing Crook, Conman, Bigot and Demagogue
      Poor little fragile Donnie. Seems the Sociopathic Snowflake who spends his days and nights trash-talking... everyone... is so afraid of mean Democrats saying anything bad about him at Monday's House hearing on his multifarious obstructions of justice the ranking Republican has demanded scary uppity Dems maintain “minimum standards of decency and decorum” and not say any nasty words about said snowflake. In a letter to chairman Jerry Nadler, Doug Collins (GA) cited the House manual of decorum, reiterated that “personal abuse, innuendo, or ridicule of the president is not permitted,” and argued it would be "unparliamentary" to ridicule, attack or accuse Trump of lying or, perish the thought, committing a crime.

    • Why Republicans Should Sack the President
      As one who voted for Eisenhower in 1956 and Nixon in 1972 and endorsed many policies of George H. W. Bush, I write to you in sorrow as well as alarm. You owe it to the Republican Party, the American people, and—indeed—all humanity, to help remove Donald Trump from the presidency without delay. The man is a danger to all living things. We have a record of his actions, many of which already set back the prospects of peace, prosperity, democracy, human rights, freedom, clean air and water, and truth. But the deepest threat lies in his erratic decision-making. No one can be sure what he will choose to do next–impelled by his own whims or those of advisers such as John Bolton or buddies at Fox News. The greater the embarrassments ensuing from the Mueller report and other investigations, the more likely he is to initiate a dangerous action, if only to muster his supposed base.

      Republicans are not all-knowing. They must acknowledge their party’s role in America’s greatest foreign policy blunder–the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The war was conceived by a cabal close to President George W. Bush, but it was backed by most Republicans (and many Democrats afraid to challenge the public mood). Even today, a large majority of Republican voters still accept the rationale that Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear weapons that Bush aimed to destroy. It turned out that Donald Rumsfeld’s “shock and awe” campaign sprang open a Pandora’s Box of horrors that have ravaged the Middle East and wasted the region’s and America’s blood and treasure for nearly two decades. The results have been far more destructive than the LBJ-Nixon Indochina wars, because the stakes are much higher than in Southeast Asia.

      That Pandora’s Box will explode if Americans fight Iran. Obsessed with Iran, President Trump and some advisers have sought to isolate and destroy its regime. Therefore the president withdrew the United States from the multilateral accord that turned back the clock on Iran’s nuclear programs in exchange for trade that would help Iran raise living standards and rejoin the world. Tightened sanctions by the Trump administration now worsen conditions for most Iranians (though not its black-marketing elites). But if US sanctions have not destroyed Fidelismo in nearby Cuba, a speck in the Caribbean, they are unlikely to effect system change in one of the most powerful states in the erstwhile cradle of civilization.

    • World of Influence: A Guide to Trump’s Foreign Business Interests
      Two years into his presidency, Donald Trump continues to make money from properties and licensing deals in nearly two dozen countries around the world, fanning the flames of concerns that the Trump administration is subject to unprecedented levels of foreign influence.

      Trump continued to hold more than $130 million in foreign assets in a revocable trust as his second year in office came to a close, according to OpenSecrets’ analysis of the president’s most recent annual personal financial disclosure released by the Office of Government Ethics last month.

      Trump’s business entanglements continue to leave him with positions, assets, trademarks and other business interests in more than 30 countries.

      Annual disclosure forms only require assets held at the end of the reporting period to be disclosed and require only minimal documentation of transactions. Income and property values are also often listed in wide ranges so the total amount may, in actuality, be much higher or lower.When it comes to foreign properties, the Trump Organization often charges a licensing fee to put the Trump name on the building and in some cases agrees to manage the property in exchange for a cut of the profits. This business model allows Trump to put his name on as many hotels and golf courses as possible while mitigating risk.Trump transferred control of the family-owned company to his adult children, who he said would pursue “no new deals” during his time in the Oval Office. Although the Trump Organization ended some proposed deals around the world, it has opened several new properties since 2017, with several providing direct income to Trump.

      Trump’s sprawling web of foreign properties and investments, which includes some projects completed during his presidency or still under development, reveals a litany of apparent efforts by foreign business leaders and governments to gain influence with the leader of the free world. Some of the developers behind Trump-branded projects are under scrutiny for exploitative business practices. In many of these countries, developers work in close proximity to political power and wealthy businessmen have outsized influence with the government.

    • While the World Watches Trump, It’s Missing What’s Really Going On
      Our leaders know how to bang the war drums and, by and large, we go along with them. The US threatens Iran with war – so will Iran close the Strait of Hormuz and attack American warships in the Gulf? Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria after rockets fall on Golan – so does an Arab-Israeli conflict loom closer than at any time since the 1973 conflict? Jared Kushner plans to reveal Trump’s “deal of the century” for peace in the Middle East – but is it dead in the water?

      Meanwhile the real stories get pushed down the page – or “to the back of the book”, as we journalists used to say.

      Take Donald Trump’s desire to furnish Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with billions of dollars of extra weapons so that they can increase the ferocity of their war in Yemen against the Houthis – whose support from Iran, such as it is, prompts much of the international abuse against the Islamic Republic. French intelligence officers in Washington have apparently discovered that this is no routine request from Riyadh but a desperate appeal to Washington, because so promiscuous has been the Saudis’ use of US munitions against Houthi rebels (and civilians, hospitals, aid centres, schools and wedding parties) that they are running out of bombs, guided and unguided missiles, drone parts and other “precision” arms to be used on one of the poorest countries in the world.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • One More Scoop Of Vanilla: A New Proposal Looks To Loosen Radio Ownership Rules

      If you're a country artist who dares to have a political opinion in the cautious world of Nashville, you're certain to hear a familiar refrain. "Be careful," you'll be warned. "You don't want to get Dixie Chicked."

      What this has come to mean, almost two decades later, is that speaking out about one's political beliefs is a surefire way to have your songs expunged from the radio, as was the case with the Dixie Chicks when they made anti-George W. Bush comments on stage in England in 2003. But what's often left out of the Dixie Chicks' mythology is that their "cancellation" wasn't caused by the independent minds of programmers across America rebelling on their own free will – it was a direct product of consolidation, of many bullhorns being held by the same hand, and the power that bestows.

    • Taiwan artist recreates Tiananmen Square 'Tank Man' scene

      In a bid to commemorate the Tiananmen Square protests, a Taiwanese artist has set up a mock tank display recreating the famous "Tank Man" scene from the demonstrations in 1989.

    • A journalist’s arrest is a worrying sign of impunity in Russia

      Mr Golunov’s editors at Meduza, an independent news site, believe his journalism is the reason for his arrest. “We know that Ivan has received threats in recent months, and we think we know from whom,” they wrote. Colleagues and friends describe Mr Golunov as a virtual teetotaller who obeyed the law scrupulously, to avoid giving the authorities excuses to harass him.

    • Russia Says it Will Soon Begin Blocking Major VPNs

      Back in March, ten major VPN providers including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish and HideMyAss were ordered by Russian authorities to begin blocking sites present in the country's national blacklist. Following almost total non-compliance, the country's telecoms watchdog says that blocking nine of the services is now imminent.

    • New reports: Police colonel in charge of officers who arrested Golunov owns land worth millions of rubles
      The news outlet Baza and the nonprofit Transparency International — Russia have reported that Police Colonel Andrey Shchirov, whose subordinates arrested Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, owns land in the Moscow suburbs that is worth between 50 million and 70 million rubles ($772,000 – $1.1 million).

    • Attorneys submit formal complaints against police officers who arrested Ivan Golunov
      Olga Dinze, an attorney for Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, has submitted a statement to Russia’s Investigative Committee detailing the actions of the police officers who arrested Golunov on June 6.

      The document, published by leading human rights advocate Pavel Chikov, describes the physical harm caused to Golunov during his arrest and demands an investigation into the actions of the officers involved as well as criminal charges under Articles 285 and 286 of Russia’s Criminal Codex. Those statutes carry fines of up to 80,000 rubles ($1,235) or up to 4 years in prison.

    • Russian state TV channel falsely claims Ivan Golunov was intoxicated during his arrest before issuing non-correction in lightly revised segment
      The state-owned television channel Rossiya-24 claimed falsely in its initial coverage of Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov’s arrest that medical staff found signs of intoxication when they examined the journalist. Simultaneously, the channel displayed an official form in which the word “not” was clearly inserted among the words “clinical evidence was found.” The channel’s editor-in-chief promised to correct the error.

    • Ivan Golunov's former employer plans to sue outlet with troll factory ties for ‘news’ about his arrest
      The independent news outlet RBC is preparing a lawsuit against the Federal News Agency (FAN), which has reported ties to “Putin’s chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin and his so-called troll factory in St. Petersburg. According to RBC co-director Yelizaveta Golikova, the outlet objected to a brief FAN published under the headline “RBK editor-in-chief says Golunov, arrested on drug charges, should be legally answerable.”

    • Who dominated Russian social media sites on June 8?
      On June 8, the day of the court hearing that decided whether Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov would be jailed or placed under house arrest to await trial, Golunov became the most mentioned individual on Russian social media networks. According to Brand Analytics’s Mediatrends service, Golunov outpaced Russian President Vladimir Putin by almost 30,000 mentions. Meanwhile, in Russian media outlets, Golunov (5,032 articles) trailed Putin (5,623) only slightly.
    • Photos: How Moscow residents and journalists came out to support Ivan Golunov on the day of his hearing
      Late at night on June 8, Moscow’s Nikulinsky District Court placed Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov under house arrest. Prosecutors argued that Golunov “attempted to distribute narcotic substances in large amounts.” The journalist himself has insisted that he is innocent and that drugs were planted in his backpack and his apartment. He believes the criminal case against him is a response to his investigative journalism about corruption in Russia’s funeral business. Throughout the day, several hundred people stood outside the courthouse. Many were journalists who had come out to support their colleague. They were joined by solidarity pickets around Russia and in cities from Stockholm to Tel Aviv.

    • Celebrity rock stars, writers, rappers, film directors, and others record videos to support Ivan Golunov
      While English subtitles are not available for the celebrity support videos, Meduza has compiled them into a single playlist, and they can be viewed in Russian below. The videos include many public figures who have gained prominence outside Russia, including media personality and former presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, rapper Oxxxymiron, TV host Vladimir Pozner, DDT bandleader Yuri Shevchuk, prose writer Ludmila Ulitskaya (The Big Green Tent; Daniel Stein, Interpreter), rock critic and producer Mikhail Kozyrev, rock musician Boris Grebenshikov, film director Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan, Loveless), and others.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Bill Gates and Travis Kalanick invest in A.I. chip start-up using light to move data [Ed: Bill Gates is investing in surveillance again (as he did in schools, spying bracelets for kids]

    • Microsoft Puts Emphasis on Open Source with Azure [Ed: Channel Futures (PR firm pretending to be media) has this headline. Funny lie to tell as Azure is proprietary software and NSA is embedded in it. Next time tell some lies for oil companies. They too pay for lies. Trend to be aware of: Microsoft is openwashing a lot of surveillance ‘projects’ (products) to give an ‘ethical’ slant to them. And these are proprietary software anyway; just some component somewhere ‘opened’ with patent-friendly licence…]

    • Microsoft Takes Down Open Source Face Database [Ed: Alternative headline would be, Microsoft grossly violated privacy while working on malicious tech that helps market itself for more crimes against humanity (ICE)]

    • More Trouble for Huawei: No More Facebook on New Phones

      Huawei, the second-largest maker of smartphones worldwide according to IDC, is still allowed to use the freely available, open source version of the Android operating system on its new phones. Users of those phones should still be able to access Facebook through the web and install WhatsApp by downloading the app directly from the WhatsApp website. Installers for other apps, such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram, are also available from third parties on the web. But without official support from companies like Google and Facebook, it's possible that some apps might not work as expected.

    • Facebook is the latest company to dramatically sever ties with Huawei

      New Huawei owners would still be able to download Facebook-owned apps from the Google Play Store, but whether Huawei phones will retain access to the Play Store once its license is up is uncertain. That's because Google is cutting Huawei off from the Android operating system.

    • Exclusive: Facebook suspends app pre-installs on Huawei phones

      Facebook Inc is no longer allowing pre-installation of its apps on Huawei phones, the latest blow for the Chinese tech giant as it struggles to keep its business afloat in the face of a U.S. ban on its purchase of American parts and software.

      Customers who already have Huawei phones will still be able to use its apps and receive updates, Facebook told Reuters. But new Huawei phones will no longer be able to have Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps pre-installed.

    • Microsoft, Oracle team up on cloud services in jab at Amazon [iophk: "no one survives a partnership with Microsoft, not even Oracle"]

      Microsoft Corp and Oracle Corp on Wednesday said they reached an agreement to make their two cloud computing services work together with high-speed links between their data centers, targeting big business users and uniting against cloud computing leader’s Amazon Web Services.

    • Microsoft and Oracle link their cloud services to take on AWS

      Microsoft has previously inked a deal with German software maker SAP and Adobe to make their services work better together.

    • Microsoft And Oracle Are Partnering To Take On Amazon Web Services [iophk: "one-way data transfer from Oracle to Microsoft"]

      Microsoft, along with Oracle’s help, will be developing and installing direct, high speed links to interface between its Azure data centers and Oracle Cloud data centers. A customer will be able to evenly distribute enterprise workloads across the two services seamlessly.

    • Microsoft and Oracle link up their clouds

      This kind of alliance is relatively unusual between what are essentially competing clouds, but while Oracle wants to be seen as a major player in this space, it also realizes that it isn’t likely to get to the size of an AWS, Azure or Google Cloud anytime soon. For Oracle, this alliance means that its users can run services like the Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle JD Edwards on Azure while still using an Oracle database in the Oracle cloud, for example. With that, Microsoft still gets to run the workloads and Oracle gets to do what it does best (though Azure users will also continue be able to run their Oracle databases in the Azure cloud, too).

    • Amazon Wants to Make Alexa a Lot More Conversational

      During a Q&A with reporters, Limp also recalled that Amazon early on envisioned Alexa to be an assistant with personality, and not just a transactional voice engine. “It started with the wake word,” he said, explaining that it would have been a lot easier for the company to use a phrase like “Okay Amazon” to activate the assistant on an Echo smart speaker — a not-so-subtle jab at Google.

    • General Data Protection Regulation one year on: what next?

      There is one other important criticism of the GDPR. As Politico says, there is evidence that the very largest Internet companies are learning to live with, or even game, the GDPR system, while smaller companies struggle with the bureaucracy.

      Complaints about the latter don’t have much weight – all regulations lead to some bureaucracy, and naturally companies don’t like it. But that’s just the price they pay for operating in these markets. The issue of the bigger players is more serious. But the problem is not the GDPR, but the microtargeted advertising that Facebook and Google routinely use on a massive scale. That’s something this blog has warned about before. Fortunately, it, too, is the subject of a GDPR complaint that asks the authorities to rule that real-time bidding is itself an infraction of the GDPR.

      In other words, it’s likely the problems that many see as showing the GDPR as something of a failure can all be solved. But it takes time for the authorities and courts to rule on these matters – rightly so, since the rulings could well re-shape just about every aspect of today’s online business ecosystem. Nobody wants that rushed, so perhaps people should be more patient.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • On Its 70th Anniversary, Nineteen Eighty-Four Still Feels Important and Inspiring

      Nineteen-Eighty Four, whose first publication took place 70 years ago today, is itself a sort of anti-novel, one that undermines its own dramatic tension in a way that might now be described as postmodern. At every juncture, Winston reminds us that his story will have no happy ending, that all will end in anguish and betrayal. Even O’Brien—the party enforcer and spy who would seem to have every reason to fill Winston’s head with false hope—tells him: “You will work for a while, you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die…There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters and bone.”

    • Deal or No Deal, Asylum Seekers Wait It Out at the Southern Border
      At the small migrant Juventud 2000 shelter near the border, a Honduran expressed disappointment Sunday over the agreement between Mexico and the United States to more aggressively curtail migration from Central America.

      But Edwin Sabillon Orellana of Honduras said he and his family will stick with their effort to seek asylum in the U.S.

      Sabillon said some migrants might decide that waiting in Mexico for the lengthy processing of asylum requests isn’t worth it, but he said he cannot take his family back to their home near San Pedro Sula, a crime-ridden metropolis that is Honduras’ second biggest city.

    • Creative + Strategic = Effective Movements for Change
      Posit: You and some friends want your town to change a public policy and the city government is ignoring you, so you decide to make some fuss to try to initiate a shift in policy.

      If you want to make change, think outside the protest box. It’s easy to get hung up on demonstrations. We’ve heard about them, they’re highly visible, and they’re relatively easy to pull off. The problem with protests is that – all too often – they’re easily ignored. Creativity is key to making your actions meaningful and memorable. Paired with a sound strategy, creative actions can be unstoppable.

      Strategy for nonviolent change is relatively straightforward: we have to remove tangible support from the problem (think: boycott the business, go on strike, walk-out of schools and workplaces) while putting resources into the solution (think: worker-owned cooperatives, restorative justice, solar panels, local food). Nonviolent struggle offers hundreds of methods of action. Instead of relying on the same-old protests, perhaps it’s time to unleash creativity and strategy by thinking outside the protest box.

      Here are three campaigns that combined creativity and strategy to make powerful change.

    • Chris Hedges: The Cult of Trump
      Cult leaders arise from decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age. The cult leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions, the more they gain in popularity. Cult leaders are immune to the norms of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope that the cult leaders will save them.

      Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult. All cults are personality cults. They are extensions of the cult leaders. The cult reflects the leader’s prejudices, worldview, personal style and ideas. Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned for a cult leader. They were desperately looking for someone to rescue them and solve their problems. They found their cult leader in the New York real estate developer and reality television show star. Only when we recognize Trump as a cult leader, and many of those who support him as cult followers, will we understand where we are headed and how we must resist.

      It was 40 years ago next month that a messianic preacher named Jim Jones convinced or forced more than 900 of his followers, including roughly 280 children, to die by ingesting a cyanide-laced drink. Trump’s refusal to acknowledge and address the impending crisis of ecocide and the massive mismanagement of the economy by kleptocrats, his bellicosity, his threats against Iran and China and the withdrawal from nuclear arms treaties, along with his demonization of all who oppose him, ensure our cultural and, if left unchecked, physical extinction. Cult leaders are driven, at their core, by the death instinct, the instinct to annihilate and destroy rather than nurture and create. Trump shares many of the characteristics of Jones as well as other cult leaders including Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles, the founders of the Heaven’s Gate cult; the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who led the Unification Church; Credonia Mwerinde, who led the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God in Uganda; Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong; and David Koresh, who led the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. Cult leaders are narcissists. They demand obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and physically abusive. They see those around them as objects to be manipulated for their own empowerment, enjoyment and often sadistic entertainment. All those outside the cult are branded as forces of evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence.

    • Massive Extradition Protest Fills Hong Kong Streets
      Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Hong Kong on Sunday to voice their opposition to government-sponsored legislation that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China to face charges.

      The massive demonstration took place three days before the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s government plans to bring the highly contentious bill to the full legislature, bypassing the committee process, in a bid to win approval by the end of the month.

      Police estimated the crowd at 240,000, but organizers said more than 1 million took part.

      The protest was one of the largest in recent Hong Kong history. It appeared to be even bigger than a massive pro-democracy demonstration in 2003 against a proposed national security law, according to Associated Press journalists who covered both events.

    • Green Party conference calls for reinstatement of David Muritu at Sandwell College
      Green Party member Samir Jeraj, who moved the motion, said:

      “We completely oppose trade union victimisation and call on Sandwell College to reverse their decision.

      “Prevent is a racist endeavour and we stand in solidarity with Dave in calling this out.”

      The Green Party conference motion called for Mr Muritu’s immediate reinstatement.

    • An “Astonishing Failure”: Independent Panel Concludes Charity Missed Opportunities to Prevent Rape of Students
      In 2016, a girl came forward to say she had been raped by a staff member of More Than Me, an American charity that sought to rescue Liberian girls from sexual exploitation. He was the second employee to be accused of violating girls in the charity’s care; the first had AIDS and died in jail just months earlier, after a trial in which 10 of the charity’s students testified he raped them.

      With the Liberian government having just signed on to allow the charity to run a number of its public schools, More Than Me president and onetime board member Saul Garlick raised what he called a “critical question” in an email to its U.S.-based board:

      “We are going to be operating … 6-9 schools starting this Fall and these issues will arise again,” he said. “Is it something that [the] board wants to know about every time? Is it appropriate for whenever there are charges being pressed? It’s a tough balance and there is the reality on the ground in Liberia.”

      The email was one of many previously unseen documents cited in a damning and wide-ranging 108-page report published by a panel appointed by the charity’s Liberian advisory board. The panel was created after a ProPublica investigation last year found that the charity’s leaders missed opportunities to prevent the rapes of girls in its care. It follows an independent audit released last month, launched by the charity’s American board, which identified deficits in the charity’s child protection practices and sharply criticized founder Katie Meyler, who resigned from her position as CEO in April.

    • Facebook Is Still Letting Kids Get Duped
      Facebook continues to put users at risk of being duped into spending money on games.

      In January, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting showed how the company knowingly made millions of dollars between 2010 and 2014 from parents who didn’t realize their kids were being charged to play games such as Angry Birds, Ninja Saga and Barn Buddy.

      Those details surfaced in January after a California court unsealed more than 150 pages of Facebook records. But the records did not answer a big question: Has Facebook changed its policy, or are users still bamboozled into spending money while playing its games?

      Now, a Reveal review has found that despite widespread criticism from U.S. senators, advocacy groups and its own users, Facebook has not changed a key policy that got it into trouble.

    • Hoover Is Assassinating MLK’s Character From the Grave
      J. Edgar Hoover is laughing in his grave today. After wielding the power of the FBI in a systematic effort to destroy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Hoover died knowing that every reputable newspaper and magazine reporter and editor in America had refused to publish the manufactured garbage he and his agents peddled in files, memos and audiotapes that were collected in a ruthless domestic surveillance program that is one of the most shameful episodes of 20th century American history. The journalists refused to publish stories based on the so-called evidence surreptitiously provided to them by FBI agents because they understood full well that the files and tapes circulated by Hoover’s FBI failed to meet the most basic, minimal standards of evidence; that any such “evidence” had been fatally tainted by bias, racism, and “dirty tricks” that were akin to those utilized by the secret police of an authoritarian state; and that Hoover was attempting use them for political purposes.

      The journalists and editors who refused to publish hit jobs on Dr. King based on the FBI “information” were entirely correct in their analysis. The 1979 Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations determined that the FBI’s campaign against Dr. King “grossly abused and exceeded its legal authority and failed to consider the possibility that actions threatening bodily harm to Dr. King might be encouraged by the program,” that the FBI investigation violated the constitutional rights of Dr. King and colleagues associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was “very probably felonious.”

      Today, a British magazine called Standpoint published an article by David Garrow in which he gathers all of the dirt he could find from FBI files newly released by order of President Trump and presents them without even the most minimally necessary historical context, evidentiary scrutiny, or critical assessment of the biased nature of the sources. Nothing is new in this article except one incendiary claim: that Dr. King witnessed an alleged rape, and that that Dr. King allegedly “looked on, laughed and offered advice.” This claim is based entirely on a handwritten note scribbled in the margins of a document, in an obvious effort to embellish the salacious nature of what had been typed. Garrow had offered the article to a number of reputable media platforms in the United States, each of which turned him down. They refused to publish Garrow’s article for exactly the same reason that all reputable journalists in the United States refused to take the bait offered to them by Hoover and his agents during the 1960s: because the so-called evidence assembled to put forth claims fails to meet even minimal journalistic standards.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The tech cold war just got a lot more intense after Russia signed a deal to build 5G internet with Huawei

      Russia's largest network provider signed a deal with Huawei to build 5G internet in the country, creating a further divide in the tech cold war rocking the US and China.

      The agreement, signed Wednesday between Russia's MTS and Huawei will "promote 5G technology and launch pilot 5G networks in Russia in 2019-2020," Huawei said in a statement sent to Business Insider.

    • How the pursuit of leisure drives internet use

      And almost all this future growth will be in developing countries. The 81% of the developed world—a billion people—online is unlikely to increase its number by much. China, at 58%—800m people—has more room for growth. But internet users elsewhere, who already handily outnumber those in the developed world and China put together, make up only 39% of their countries’ populations. Those are the countries where most of the next billion will come from, and the billion after that, and the billion after that (see chart 1). And as they swell the internet’s numbers, they will change its character.

      The second half of the internet will for the most part speak languages other than English and Mandarin. It will have little to no experience with other digital media. [...]

    • Your legal right to 10Mbps broadband will start next March [iophk: "won't help with sites that have so much JavaScript that they take 15 seconds to load regardless of your connection speed"]

      IF YOU'RE PART of the two per cent of the country that can't get a decent broadband connection, then good news. You can start downloading Celebration by Kool and the Gang, and hopefully it'll have finished by the time Ofcom's speed guarantees come into force in March 2020.

      The Universal Service Obligation (USO) will guarantee consumers and businesses connection speeds of at least 10Mbps with upload speeds of 1Mbps priced at €£45 per month or lower. These figures are just a starting point, with Ofcom stating that they can be adjusted "as the amount of data people use changes."

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Piracy is Ethically Acceptable For Many Harvard Lawyers, Research Finds

        In most countries the law strictly forbids people from sharing copyrighted material without permission. However, not everyone necessarily agrees with this position. New research reveals that many lawyers studying at Harvard view casual forms of piracy as ethically acceptable. Does this mean that the law should change?

      • DMCA Takedowns Try to Delist Dozens of Adult Homepages from Google

        A wave of DMCA notices sent from a company without an obvious web presence have targeted, among other things, the homepages of dozens of adult-focused sites. Google appears to have responded by delisting the main pages of several affected platforms. Larger ones, such as YouPorn and xHamster, seem to have got a free pass.

      • A non-aboriginal business has licensed the copyright on Australia's aboriginal flag, and are making copyright claims against aboriginal businesses

        In 1971, the Australian indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the iconic Australian Aboriginal Flag which has since been named one of the "official flags of Australia," which resulted in Thomas successfully suing to assert copyright over the design.

        Thomas subsequently sold the "exclusive, worldwide copyright license" to a business called WAM Clothing. WAM is using its copyright to target the aboriginal-owned social enterprise Spark Health whose registered social purpose is "health promotion and Aboriginal Community engagement" and who manufacture promotional clothing bearing Thomas's flag.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Delayed Series About Dr. Richard Stallman
A lot of the attacks on him boil down to petty things
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting Several Webhosts (in Collaboration and Conjunction With Mentally-Ill Flunkies)
Every attempt to nuke the current hosting failed, but it's still worth noting
Google: We Don't Have Source Diversity, But We Have Chatbot Spew in Place of Sources (and It's Not Even Accurate)
Search engines and news search never looked this bad...
[Meme] Security is Not a Failure to Boot (or Illusion of Security Due to 'Unknown' System)
Red Hat is largely responsible for this mess
What is Secure Boot?
Security means the user feels safe and secure - i.e. confident that the machine would continue to work following a reboot or a system upgrade (or kernel upgrade)
Links 27/05/2024: Chatbots Generate Hateful Output, TPM Performance Scrutinised
Links for the day
David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) Realises What He Should Have Decades Ago
seeing that DHH is moving away from Apple is kind of a big deal
Microsoft Windows Fell From 100% to Just 7.5% in Sierra Leone
Based on statCounter
In Benin, Microsoft's Windows Fell Below 10%, GNU/Linux Surged to 6% or Higher on Desktops/Laptops
That's nearly 7% - a lot higher than the average in Africa
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 27, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, May 27, 2024
[Meme] Elephant in the Asian Room
With ChromeOS included GNU/Linux is at 6% across Asia
GNU/Linux in Bangladesh Up From 0.5% to Over 4% (Windows Slid From 95% to 18%)
Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely-populated countries
Links 27/05/2024: One Month Left for ICQ, More Openwashing Highlighted
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/05/2024: Back to GNU/Linux, Librem 5 Assessed
Links for the day
StatCounter (or statCounter) Has Mostly Recovered From a Day's Downtime (Malfunction)
Some of the material we've published based on the statCounter datasets truly annoys Microsofters
StatCounter (or statCounter) Has Been Broken for Nearly 24 Hours. Who Benefits? Microsoft.
StatCounter is broken right now and has been broken for nearly 24 hours already
Reinvigorating the Voice of GNU/Linux Users (Not Companies Whose Chiefs Don't Even Use GNU/Linux!)
Scott Ruecker has just announced his return
"Tech" in the Context of Even Bigger Issues
"Tech" (or technology) activism is important; but there's a bigger picture
A Decade of In-Depth Coverage of Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO)
The world needs transparency and sunlight
Hopefully Not Sunset for StatCounter
We hope that StatCounter will be back soon.
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 26, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, May 26, 2024
Links 27/05/2024: Self-Publishing, Patent Monopolies, and Armed Conflicts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/05/2024: Tethering Connection and PFAs
Links for the day
Imagine Canada Enabling Rapists to Harass Their (Rape) Victims
This analogy is applicable because abusers are empowered against the abused
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting My Old "Tweets"
This was basically an act of vandalism no better and no worse than UEFI restricted boot
Links 26/05/2024: Google 'Search' Morphing Into Disinformation Factory, Discussion of Maze of the Prison Industrial Complex
Links for the day
In the Pacific (Mostly Islands Around Oceania) GNU/Linux Grew a Lot
Microsoft cannot compete fairly
A Toast to Tux Machines
Food ready for the party, no photos yet...
IBM/Red Hat Failing to Meet Its WARN Obligations in NC (STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA), or Perhaps It's Constantly Delaying the Layoffs
IBM isn't named even once
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 25, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, May 25, 2024
GNU/Linux in Greenland
The sharp increases for GNU/Linux started last summer
The Sheer Absurdity of the EPO's Career System Explained by EPO Staff
"Staff representation has previously pointed this out to management, and the career system has been the reason for several industrial actions and litigation cases initiated by SUEPO."
[Meme] Productivity Champ Nellie Simon: It Takes Me 3+ Weeks to Write 6 Paragraphs
Congrats to Nellie Simon!
It Took EPO Management 3+ Weeks to Respond to a Letter About an Urgent Problem (Defunding of EPO Staff)
The funny thing about it is that Nellie Simon expects examiners to work day and night (which is illegal) while she herself takes 3+ weeks to write a 1-page letter
Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) in The Hague Taking Action to Rectify Cuts to Families of Workers
they "are active in challenging this measure via the legal system"